august at twenty-two
Synopsis: Cal, a floundering actress, must reevaluate her priorities when she discovers that her childhood “soulmate,” Jacob, has a serious girlfriend, Emily. Feeling unfulfilled by disappointing auditions, pressure to succeed (whatever that means), and failed attempts to reconnect with Jacob, Cal seeks a new companion in Em. As Cal gets swept up in her exciting new social life, she begins neglecting her best friend Bobby, who is becoming increasingly concerned about her rapidly changing focus. As Bobby and Cal’s friendship disintegrates, so does Cal’s sense of self. Meanwhile, her relationship with Em develops in unexpected and incendiary ways.
Lilli Kay (Emily)
Jorge Felipe Guevara (Bobby)
Clay Singer (Jacob)
Have you ever fallen in love with your best friend? What about their brother? What about their girlfriend? Have you ever felt a huge capacity for love and being loved, but it all becomes misconstrued by the confusing nature of your early-20s? While living in one of the most expensive cities in the world on a babysitter’s budget? Have you ever felt so lost in the mess of this time that you begin to lose friends, jobs, and a sense of self? I wonder if this experience was unique only to the likes of the protagonist august at twenty-two, Cal, or if her experience might be more universal.
I met Cal in the first draft of Ali Edward’s script in early 2019. We sat in a cafe in Manhattan, and although our friendship had yet to blossom, we felt a creative spark between the two of us.
I’ve always been drawn to coming-of-age stories, but I also felt there was something missing with the genre. It usually centered around folks much younger than characters like Cal. But there was this nagging feeling that “coming-of-age” occurs more than just in childhood and teenage years. There are definitely multiple coming-of-age cycles in a person’s life, right?
Having just experienced the onset of my second coming-of-age (which was rough), and now feeling the glow of self-realization and newfound confidence from that, I felt immediately drawn to Ali’s script. I knew Cal. I knew what she was going through when failing auditions and feeling confused and not good enough for the extremely competitive world of acting. I felt Bobby’s struggle to make ends meet while pursuing a music career, busking for one more hour to bridge that gap to pay rent. I understood Emily’s desperation to hold onto a relationship that was her safety net in a time where everything just won’t stop changing. Our hope is that this film transports you back to your own life at “twenty-two” just like it did for me.
Even more importantly, though, Cal’s second coming-of-age also involves her sexuality. She’s a queer woman with complex feelings for those around her. I certainly knew that feeling. And even beyond her queerness, I felt seen in Cal’s inability to separate friendships from romance and intimacy. I wanted what she craved too, and Ali’s writing succinctly touched a nerve with me, in a meaningful and confronting way.
As a director, it excited me that Cal was not perfect. In her journey to understanding herself, she hurts people and damages friendships in ways she couldn’t even imagine. But our story allows her to ask for forgiveness and to repair the damage she’s caused not only to her friends, but to herself. And even though she doesn’t get the closure she wants, which is a wound I know many folks are familiar with, she still finds a way to learn her lessons and move on with her life.
Ultimately, this story became bigger than our team could imagine. It was no longer just about telling Cal’s specific story, or making a stamp on coming-of-age and LGBTQ+ stories. While on set with a fully female-identifying crew, most of us working on our first feature, we realized something: this film was for girls and young women who wanted to do the very thing we managed to do in three weeks on the streets of New York’s August. We wanted to show them that they can create art that tells their unique stories in the hopes that it reaches a wider audience.
If, on their artistic journey, they encounter a time when they’re lost and confused and seeking love and community and purpose, they’ll think of Cal.
Sophia Castuera is an independent filmmaker and actor residing in New York City. Sophia attended Boston University’s College of Communication where she graduated a year early with a degree in Film & Television.
Since then, she’s worked with companies such as Sony Animation and Film Independent. She directed and produced her first post-collegiate short film, where she collaborated with Ali Edwards, a fellow Boston University alumni. They went on to create the production company, Lady Parts Productions, alongside producer Mary Elizabeth Monda.
She has just completed her training at Terry Knickerbocker Studio’s Two-Year Conservatory. As a half-Mexican actor and artist, Sophia strives to help tell stories about underrepresented communities in the media.