Synopsis

Summer Snapshot plays out, shot by sun-kissed shot, an idyllic day at a mountain river where a group of friends spend an afternoon skinny-dipping, strumming guitars, and circling a campfire. Reminiscent of a 1970s home movie, Summer Snapshot is a nostalgic reflection on the fleeting window between youth and adulthood.

Director's Statement

When Kodak announced it was discontinuing Kodachrome and Polaroid film was fast disappearing from the shelves, it felt like more than a shift in technology; it felt like the end of a way of recording memories. The warm super-saturated colors of both Kodachrome and Polaroid had, for decades, defined the very look of growing-up. Even if I was too young to really remember the '70s, I felt as if I'd lived through the flickering images of shaggy-haired kids in tube socks and cutoff shorts. “We've seen these old Polaroids, these old films," as one of the interviews in Summer Snapshot explains, "and we want in." So I set out to make a film about summer memories, sun-kissed and golden.

Super-8 has the look and feel of memory. So I used it to explore the idea of memory, and themes important to my own sense of coming of age, such as the first time being brave enough to skinny dip with friends, quiet times spent circling a campfire, road trips.

Gathering up thrift-store Super-8 cameras and Kodak film, I set out with a team of volunteers to capture a carefree summer day at a secret spot along Mt. Hood's Sandy River. The Sandy is a 45-minute drive from Portland, Oregon, my hometown. As the years pass, specific trips to the river merge into a single composite day and take on an amber hue. As I began to talk to friends, they, too, held a memory of a special summer day involving a group of friends and a body of water.

Summer Snapshot is an ode to those memories. They are individual, yet universal. Weaving contemporary interviews underneath flickering Super-8 imagery blends past and present. The date of the river trip, the names, the ages, no information is given to fix the memory—rather it is left open, inviting the viewer to fill in those details and infuse their own memory onto the day.

Summer Snapshot suggests that the blurring haze of memory, the beauty of youth in nature, and the carefree times with friends may not be inconsequential, and that maybe it's ok to recall the past with nostalgia, maybe even important, because a good day can shape a sense of self and become a reference point as we grow older. As one interview in the film says: “That's what I'm going to look back on when I'm 80.” And it may be true.