Summer Issues is the story of a young adult university student who tries to find his way and purpose in life while navigating between his interests and graduation. It’s a plot that has been depicted in numerous productions before and is always a safe bet. But I don’t think someone has done it with as much compassion and simplicity as writers Adam Masnyk and Rory Cardin and director Eric Kelly have. The film is a coming-of-age drama set in the current times and focuses intensely on the competitive pressure put on young millennials and Gen-Z.
Sean (Vasilios Asimakos) is a college student who returns to his hometown in Massachusetts for the summer. He takes up his old job at the comic book store for the summer, which leads him to revisit and reevaluate his goals as conversations with old and new friends shape his thoughts. Sean is a creative sketch artist but is pursuing a business degree. There is a clear indication in the plot of Sean’s disinterest in his financially heavy university courses. However, the film doesn’t necessarily push the message of having a mandatory creative interest. And that comes forth via other characters and their divisive and distinct thoughts and opinions.
“Sean’s newfound affection for Lydia further deepens his desire to give his life a serious rethinking.”
While Sean has an inclination toward the arts, his friend Eddie (Adam Masnyk) sees Sean’s secured future after college as a boon and is often angry at Sean for not looking at it the same way. Patrick (Matthew Berke) has no clue what his life may look like going into the future. There is also Frank (David R. Reid), Sean’s elderly colleague. He has spent most of his life in the same town without seeing a reason to do anything otherwise. Sean witnesses these people and listens to their stories that influence his calling and choices. Sean’s newfound affection for Lydia (Ana Marie Calise) further deepens his desire to give his life a serious rethinking.
Summer Issues is a story about one’s longing to figure out what he or she wants from life. Sean is a creative sketch artist but is pursuing business administration, and everyone in his life has a different thought on the matter. All these characters bring a mixed bag of opinions on life, especially from a young adult’s perspective. And what better place than a comic book store to shoot such a story? Comic books are where people give their ideas a surreal interpretation. The setting perfectly justifies the impact of creative culture on the modern youth and its influence on their minds.
The film shines throughout and is clearly a passion project for its creators. Several crew members, including Masnyk (who also produced) and Kelly, act in the film. Their hard work and belief in their film are visible throughout and can be witnessed in the efforts that went into the technical duties. The film ends with a behind-the-scenes reel showing everyone enjoying every aspect of the production, strengthening the story, and perfecting its different creative facets.
"…shines throughout and is clearly a passion project..."