Jen is doing super-duper-save-the-world level stuff in Paraguay, so for this episode I (Sam) flew solo for an interview with “Butterflies” writer and producer Carlotta Summers.
UPDATE: When we finished this interview, Carlotta was still crowdfunding for her film Butterflies, but as of the time this podcast was published, her film is over 100% funded and hit the 500 follower mark!
Here are some highlights from the interview:
What’s your ethnic background?
I am mixed black and white. My mom is Black and my dad is White/Italian.
What kinds of joys did your ethnic background offer, growing up?
I have a big family on both sides. Both my mom and dad are 1 of six children. My aunts and uncles also have children of their own. As a kid I remember going on various vacations with my dad and us renting a big house by the ocean. My mom and I would attend cook-outs and family reunions. Needless to say my childhood was filled with lots of adventures from and although big, I felt accepted and loved by both sides.
What were some of the challenges of being mixed?
I always hear from relatives that I have “the best of both worlds,” and while that may be true I found that there is no singular identity I can call my own. Specifically in the industry I’m in (film and television), I find that biracial women and men are often placed into the category of “Ethnically Ambiguous,” and if they don’t look like what they are, we are often told to try and portray something that we are not.
Personally, I have always felt like I’m stuck in limbo. I don’t look either black or white and it’s hard to find culturally where I belong. Despite the fact that I grew up mostly around my mom, and black relatives, I do not look black. And I have always been singled out for being different.
There is always this sense that I am an imposter. I can never wear something cultural or else I risk offending that culture. What skin tone or hair a biracial kid has often determines what they are accepted as being in society. I have heard, “which side are you on?” It’s not a choice it’s whatever other people perceive me to be.
How has your ethnic background informed your film work?
As a writer and filmmaker I often write about identity. I enjoy looking at the psychology behind our perceptions and believe that film can be used as a positive tool to challenge those perceptions. When we are watching a film, we get sucked into the world. What we portray on the screen matters. If we can use this to eradicate stereotypes and show the struggles of people we would otherwise never interact with, so that we can provoke understanding, then I believe we can influence the world for the better.
What’s your film about?
Butterflies, the short film, follows the psychological effects of bullying on a young biracial girl as she navigates her way through high school. There’s a feature length version that’s already been written, and the short is being used as proof of concept for that.
How can our fans support you?
We are in the final week of our Seed and Spark campaign! It ends May 1st. We have already raised 88% of our goal and we are looking for followers on the page. If we get 500 followers we get A LOT of free support from Seed and Spark and it costs nothing to follow! Go to www.seedandspark.com/fund/butterfliesmovie and follow the page. If you like what you see feel free to contribute!
If you want to see more of the journey as it unfolds check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/butterfliesmovie, Instagram @butterfliesmovie, and twitter @butterfliesmov
We would love to have you with us!