‘Best Summer Ever’ musical acquired by Freestyle Digital Media

The teen romance features a diverse cast and crew of people with disabilities

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Fans of movie musicals are already buzzing about the forthcoming feature Best Summer Ever due to its diverse cast and crew of people with disabilities.

After its SXSW festival premiere, Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to Michael Parks Randa and Lauren Smitelli’s inclusive musical romance, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film boasts an ensemble cast and several notable Hollywood veterans, including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, and Benjamin Bratt.

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“Freestyle Digital Media is proud to be a part of the North American release of Best Summer Ever. This innovative, free-spirited take on the teen musical genre is great viewing for audiences of all ages,” Freestyle vp operations and sales Bill Vergos said in a statement.

Per THR, below is the official synopsis:

The film portrays Anthony, a high school football player, shocked to discover that a new young woman in school, Sage, is the same young woman he fell in love with at a summer dance camp. Now they must reevaluate their relationship as Anthony struggles to be both the high school football star and dancer he’s always wanted to be.

The film stars Shannon DeVido, Ricky Wilson Jr., MuMu, Jacob Waltuck, Emily Kranking, Ajani “AJ” Murray, Eileen Grubba and Holly Palmer

DeVido is an actor, writer and comedian born with spinal muscular atrophy, and she previously opened up about using comedy to break the ice and start conversations about living with a disability. 

“I like to kind of turn things on their head, look at it in a different way and also poke fun at disability a little bit — not in a mean way, but allowing myself to take disability and use it in a way that breaks barriers,” she said in an interview for CNET’s Now What interview series.

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“Comedy is such a wall breaker. You can talk to someone, and you can talk about how you laughed about something in a way that you can’t do that with anything else,” DeVido added. “Disability is such a hot, weird topic. People don’t really know what — ‘Can I talk to you?’ and ‘I don’t know what to say or what to do.’ That’s totally human nature, and I’m never offended by that, but I think that using comedy in a way that allows you to start that conversation is such a unique and important way to do it.”

When it comes to diversity and inclusion in Hollywood, DeVido is calling on studios and executives to hire more people with disabilities.

“There’s still able-bodied people being cast in disabled roles, which is very frustrating to watch,” she said. “Everyone deserves to see themselves represented, because it makes you feel like part of society. That’s why it’s so important to have disabled actors representing themselves.”

Best Summer Ever is slated for release in the U.S. via digital HD internet, cable and satellite platforms and DVD on April 27, 2021.

Randa and Smitelli co-wrote the project with Will Halby, Terra Mackintosh and Andrew Pilkington. Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard executive produce along with Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Jamie Lee Curtis and Amy Brenneman. Leah Romond, Jake Sharpless, and Katie White serve as producers along with Pilkington and Mackintosh, according to the report.

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