PARK CITY, UTAH – JANUARY 22: (L-R) Alessandra Lacorazza, Emma Ramos, Kimaya Thais Limon, René Pérez Joglar, Dreya Castillo, Luciana Elisa Quinonez, Lío Mehiel, Allison Salinas, Leslie Grace, Sharlene Cruz, and Sasha Calle attend the 2024 Sundance Film Festival “Exhibiting Forgiveness” premiere. (Photo by Michael Hurcomb/Shutterstock for Sundance Film Festival)
By Patty Consolazio
Dad gets his girls each summer. He loves them, but let’s just call him unreliable. Volatile. Reckless, maybe. Yet again and again, the two sisters drag their heavy suitcases into his life for the summer.
In The Summers follows sisters Violeta and Eva through their yearly summertime stays in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with their father. They share brilliant moments as Dad coaxes them to mountaintop sunrises and starry nights in deserts to teach them about the universe. Some of their other adventures are more disturbing; notably, things like a house party with Dad’s lechy friends and a perilous game of “no stopping” in his speeding car.
Premiering on January 22 at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, the film was followed by a Q&A with director Alessandra Lacorazza and the cast of the film, including René Pérez Joglar, who plays the father, Vicente, and the girls and women who play his daughters at different stages of their young lives throughout the film.
“I started developing [this story] a few years after my dad died, and it started in conversation with my sister when we were just trying to piece together our lives with my dad as we were visiting him in these chaotic ways in the summer. And the structure for it just came that way,” explains Lacorazza. “I was like, I think this would be a really interesting way to examine a life, by just seeing these little snippets, of a father who has a lot of love but also has a lot of issues. Yes, it’s a highly personal story for me, but I think that with my cast, it also became something different and something beautiful.”
In contrast to a movie peppered with dark and serious moments, the vibe on the Sundance stage was all about the fun. The actors cast as the daughters shared stories of getting to know and having “sleepovers” with their castmates. However, Joglar admitted that he was not at all prepared for his role.
“Well, first of all, I’ve never acted before, so it’s like my first…” he admits to the audience, much to their surprised delight. Then, like a true confession, he spills out all his early thoughts upon being invited to join the cast.
“I was like, mmm, I don’t know… the music industry [Joglar is a musician], and I’ve never acted… and people tell you, ‘Oh, there’s a movie and it never happens,’ so I thought, yeah, yeah, I’m gonna do it, it’s not gonna happen,” he recalls. “So then they call me in January and say it’s happening in May, it’s like, oh shit. I had a lot of things to do.”
He turns to Lacorazza and admits one more thing: “I remember that I first read the script, I’m sorry to tell you this, like two weeks before.” Luckily, Lacorazza laughs heartily along with the audience. It all worked out, clearly.
In The Summers is part of the Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition
To see more of the magic from the 2024 Festival, click here.