Photographs. Memory retrieval

Photographs. Memory retrieval

Initial project

When Carla Simon mentions the initial project which would eventually become Summer 1993, she refers to her years as a student at the London Film School (September 2011-June 2014). After the demise of her grandfather, she made a shortfilm about two kids who witness the death of their grandmother unbeknown to themselves. (Lipstick, 2013).

She then realized she wanted to work on her own experience after her mother’s death, due to AIDS, when she was six. She decided to write about her initial months with her new family, subsequent to her mother’s demise. Her mother’s brother, his wife and her cousin would now become her new parents and sister.

She therefore travelled to the region of La Garrotxa (Catalonia) for two weeks, to what had once been her parents’ home. After many conversations she scanned all the photos from her childhood: the early days, growing up with her sister, pictures taken prior to her mother’s death…

These photographs were crucial for the film. They inspired certain moments and scenes, and contributed to define locations, the art direction, the colour palette and the wardrobe.

“This is me, at six. I think that, somehow, the scene where Frida plays at being her mother comes from this photo. I don’t recall playing at being my mum, but no doubt I wanted to dress up and put make up on.”

“After seeing the pictures the scene in the bath revealed itself very relevant. The art team had to seriously search in order to find one of these tubs with a seat which don’t exist anymore.”

“Here my sister and I had grown up a bit but the image is important to me for the ending of the film. I knew I wanted to finish with a shot of the four of us together. Now the film is over I realize how similar it is to the actual picture.”

“I remember clearly the wash house. I wanted to show it somewhere along the film and I finally fitted it in a couple of scenes.”

“The tree was right outside our house and that’s where I learnt to climb it. It got its relevance during the first breakfast there, when Anna is climbing up the tree and later Frida shows the grandparents she’s also learnt the ropes. I was a city girl and lived in Badalona and so to get used to living out in the country was a great challenge and sometimes tough.”

“Those nighties! My grandma’s sister gave them to us. Thanks to the pictures I remembered that present. They were alike but I argued with my sister because of the colour. (in the film Frida gets upset because she got given the blue one and Anna the pink one).”

“My new parents worked at the local swimming pool, where we actually shot. It hadn’t changed that much and it was an awesome experience given that almost everything was the same as when we were children.”


“Pictures inspired me locations and justified some things included in the film, like the river, or when I removed the small wheels of a bike. There were also the cats, the cows, playing with hoses, the clothes hanging on the line… All of them elements I found in photos and which I showed in the film.”

Picture frames matching dialogue-inspiring pictures

Estiu 1993: Creation process