Smell of Summer

On the first day of summer vacation, three 10-year old boys venture through their Philadelphia neighborhood trying to find some excitement.

  • Kris Wilson
  • Kris Wilson
  • Kris Wilson
  • Sherkeen Harris
    Key Cast
  • Ta'j Blaine
    Key Cast
  • Cha'Chill Silas Biggar
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    22 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 15, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, RED
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Kris Wilson

Kris Wilson is an independent filmmaker and licensed entertainment attorney. Before entering the film and television industry, Wilson was a veteran professional football player in the National Football League. Upon retirement from the NFL, he graduated from the UCLA School of Law, where he specialized in sports and entertainment, and also graduated from UCLA School of Theater Film and Television, where he studied production directing. Today, Wilson is a freelance producer at NFL Films, where he contributes in the production of television shows such as HBO's Hard Knocks and Showtime's Inside the NFL. He currently is known for writing, directing and producing the award-wining narrative short film Mid City Blue, as well as his latest narrative short film project Smell of Summer.

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Director Statement

SMELL OF SUMMER hits home. It's a raw portrait of the blighted neighborhoods of the Philadelphia region, as seen through the eyes of some of its youngest residents.

My purpose in choosing 10-yr old boys' perspective was to have the audience walk the streets of Philadelphia with an age group that is universally understood as innocent, an age group that hasn't yet lost hope that their lives can make a difference. As the children engage in friendly (and sometime ornery) banter, we subtly uncover the trauma beneath their bravado, and the burdens that their young developing minds should not have to carry.

Philadelphia is often called the City of Brotherly Love, and that love is usually born of a shared plight, or shared experiences. Sometimes, that love is born from a shared traumatic experience. SMELL OF SUMMER is a real story of brotherly love, where three boys forge an indelible bond in the most heartbreaking manner––by having to witness a murder. Together.

SMELL OF SUMMER is ultimately a story of innocence lost, depicted true to its setting. We casted real Philadelphia kids, both actors and non-actors. As director, I mixed improvisational prompts with a loose script in order to ensure that the voices of my characters were authentic voices of Philadelphia children. We shot in Philly's most notoriously violent neighborhoods, using no artificial lights, only available light from the sun, and diffusion.

The goal of this film was to give a voice to those marginalized populations who are often reduced to statistics before ever getting a chance to explain that their life chances were cut short before they even reached adolescence by an myriad of traumatic experiences, and to give the Philadelphia region a film that they could look to and say 'this is us'.