Inaugural Speakeasy Shorts Competition Combines Art of Storytelling With Filmmaking

Friday, November 2, 2012

Inaugural Speakeasy Shorts Competition Combines Art of Storytelling with Filmmaking

The District of Columbia Office of Motion Picture and Television Development (DC Film Office) has partnered with DC Shorts and Speakeasy for the inaugural Speakeasy Shorts competition, a unique event that combines the art of storytelling with the craft of filmmaking in a two-weekend experience. Seven teams of filmmakers will be assigned to seven storytellers to create short films based on original stories, all shot and produced in the District.

“We are thrilled to partner with DC Shorts and Speakeasy DC on this unique effort to feature the amazing talent we have here in our nation’s capital,” stated DC Film Office Director Crystal Palmer. “I am looking forward to seeing how this innovative concept challenges our filmmakers and experiencing the incredible films that will come out of it.”

On November 9, seven local storytellers will narrate their touching, funny, insightful and personal stories to an audience that includes seven filmmaking teams. At the end of the storytelling, the performers will be matched with their filmmaking crews to begin a 5-day production.

On November 16, the audience will return to watch the seven eight minute films and vote for their favorite film, the film most closely interpreting the story told live, and the film that takes the most twist on the story. The top film team and storyteller will receive cash prizes and additional monies will be awarded to winners of the other categories.

“Film is really visual storytelling. So to combine the tales from Speakeasy storytellers with some of the city's top indie filmmakers seemed like a natural pairing,” stated DC Film Alliance Executive Director Jon Gann. “I am most excited to see how the stories unfold on screen—do the directors stay true to the teller's vision, or do they reinterpret into a new genre?”

This week, the DC Film Office sat down with Jon Gann and artistic executive director of Speakeasy DC and Amy Saidman for the Reel Talk with Film DC podcast series to discuss Speakeasy Shorts and the work of their respective organizations.

Both shows will be held at the US Navy Memorial Heritage Center in Northwest, Washington, DC and will run approximately 90 minutes. For more details on the shows, please visit

DC Shorts is a project of the DC Film Alliance. The DC Film Alliance serves and strengthens the media arts in the greater Washington, DC region by serving as a bridge between the myriad of media arts organizations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

SpeakeasyDC is a nonprofit arts organization based in Washington, DC dedicated to preserving the age-old oral tradition of storytelling, elevating artistic merit, cultivating new talent, and supporting seasoned and emerging storytellers in artistic and professional settings. They offer numerous performance and learning opportunities for people who wish to learn, practice, and experience the art of turning personal narrative into compelling and entertaining performances and communications.