PERSONAL STATEMENT: THE ART OF RETELLING
I come from a large Italian-American family that has, in my opinion, some of the greatest storytellers in the world. For many years as a kid I was not allowed to see R rated movies and would rely on relatives retelling me entire films in vivid fashion. In the process I mastered the art of listening. I’m telling you this because “film directing” is listening. It’s listening and retelling, perceiving and sharing. Almost the same method an actor uses to inhabit a character, a director must use to engage his or her audience. It’s in this process that the storyteller’s style is born, producing the creative stamp that makes them resonate with their own unique tone. For a filmmaker this will define their visual prose. A few of the movies I had to wait years to see were James Cameron’s The Terminator, Brian De Palma’s Scarface, and Clint Eastwood’s Sudden Impact. They are all directors for whom I now have a great reverence. But it’s a reverence shared with my grandpa, my father, my uncle and my brother. Because they were the ones doing the retelling and doing it so well it somehow made for great cinema. Oscar-winning director Steven Soderberg has defined the idea of “cinema” as follows:
“It means that if this filmmaker didn’t do it, it either wouldn’t exist at all, or it wouldn’t exist in anything like this form.”
Wouldn’t exist at all, or wouldn’t exist in anything like this form. Almost sounds like he’s talking about a human soul. He is…and so am I.
Christopher Summa (Director/Writer/Producer) is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has directed four award-winning short films that have played at numerous festivals internationally including the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. He has won film grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts as well as the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. He received special recognition at The Brooklyn Film Festival for his unique union of Italian-American and African-American themes in his work. Summa spent a year at the Actors Studio in New York and was also an invited guest at the Work Center of Jerzy Grotowski in Pontedera, Italy. He credits these two experiences with creating his method of working with actors.
Alongside his independent films, Summa has worked in broadcast production for advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding on campaigns for Duracell, USPS, Unilever, and Philip Morris among others. He gained professional recording studio experience working at the Jewish Braille Institute of America where he helped record audio books for the blind and worked with as many as 90 different voice-over artists a week. He has freelanced with multiple Emmy and Clio winning producers in New York both as an editor and videographer. Past clients include: B.B. King Blues Club, the Weinstein Company, L’oreal/Redken products, and R.H. Macy & Co.
Curriculum Vitae available upon request