Summering depicts the story of four girls the summer before they enter middle school as they face what it means to grow up. 

Director and co-writer James Ponsoldt recently sat down with uInterview founder Erik Meers for a conversation about why he wanted to make a “coming-of-age film” for young girls.

“I’m a parent of three kids,” Ponsoldt shared. “Being a parent effected inevitably the way I look at stories and movies, and specifically stories that are anchored from the subjectivity of a child’s experience. Over the past few years, as we’ve all been dealing with a lot of anxeity and change, I am in conversation with my kids about traumas that are personal like the loss of a pet or a grandparent and things that are at a much more macro level. I’ve been facinated by the ways in which we all might experience the same thing but we have a differnt way or different tools to process it.”

He revealed a turning moment for his family, in which conversations were opened to discuss more complex topics that children face as they grow up.

“A man was found dead not too far from my home,” the director and writer said. “He couldn’t be identified and still hasn’t been. He did not even receive the dignity of being named and it felt like a signifier of a much larger social problem – a breakdown of a social contract we have with each other. It was a catalyst for conversations with my friends, my wife and my children in age appropriate terms.

“We had conversations about things like structural violence, equity, about justice, about how we might become unhoused – about all these things and about the effect on kids. I realized the immense privilege that I had as a kid in being able to see myself in coming of age stories, stories about people experiencing death for the first time, and it was a male privilege that I think it worth being prosecuted and interrogated and understood,” he said. “The best kinds of films have multiple subjectivities. If we want to look at something like structural violence and how it’s passed on through society, we need different subjectivities, so we can understand ourselves better. Part of that, for me, was I wanted to make a film where my daughter sees herself and sees her friends on screen – both their hopes and love for each together but also fears and anxiety – to dignify those feelings in a way that maybe my sister or wife didn’t have available to them when they were the age of my daughter.”

Summering is now playing in select theaters.

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