“It’s Snowing in Summer” looks at the realities of living in Harlem today, through the perspective of two friends marking a 30th birthday party. The short film, starring and produced by Anthony Gaskins, is one of several shown at a recent celebration of Black Cinema by NewFilmmakers Los Angeles.
The film follows Donovan (Anthony Gaskins), a driven campaign manager, and Jackson, (Nick Creegan), a determined actor returning to the East Coast, who have a kind of “come to Jesus” moment. Both are proud, zealous, and opinionated, and debate subjects like gentrification, wealth, and the many ills affecting Harlem.
You can watch the NFMLA interview with Anthony Gaskins, producer of and actor in “It’s Snowing in the Summer” here:
The film, directed by Gladimir Gelin and written by Ra Hearne, sprung from a conversation between six young Black men, including Gaskins, in March of 2018 at Soho House in New York City. Sharing their experiences, they decided to collaborate in the future. The meeting led to the formation of the New 20 production collective, which aims to create stories that “inspire audiences and reflect their authenticity.”
Poetry in ‘It’s Snowing in the Summer’
“It’s Snowing in Summer” makes clear from the very beginning that the filmmakers have more than just a birthday on their minds — they’re concerned with history. The film opens with Abiodun Oyewole, part of the revered Harlem spoken word group The Last Poets, founded in the 1960s. He shares a few spoken word voices about the gentrification of Harlem:
“For a long time they didn’t want to be around us/but now they seem like it’s a must/to hang with Black folks/this ain’t no joke/eat soul food and walk their dogs in the park/hanging out with black folks until way after dark.”
“It’s Snowing In the Summer” was part of NFMLA’s February Film Festival and annual InFocus: Black Cinema program, spotlighting Black stories and emerging Black talent in front of and behind the camera.
The day began with InFocus: Black Cinema Shorts I, telling stories of family, loss, and joy. It continued with director Stuart McClave’s debut feature documentary “On The Line: The Richard Williams Story,” and concluded with InFocus: Black Cinema Shorts II, featuring stories of connection, community, identity, mental health, climate activism, and motherhood.
NFMLA showcases films by filmmakers of all backgrounds throughout the year in addition to its special InFocus programming, which celebrates diversity, inclusion, and region. All filmmakers are welcome and encouraged to submit their projects which will be considered for all upcoming NFMLA Festivals, regardless of the InFocus programming.
Main image: A scene from “It’s Snowing in the Summer”