Maggie Gives a Speech!
Genre: Short Narrative
Location: Sierra Madre, CA
Q&A with RYAN A. CONTRERAS
Cast & Crew
WRITER/DIRECTOR Ryan A. Contreras
PRODUCER Mirian Perez Colindres, Jordan Williams, Madison Webster
KEY CAST Emily Radosevich, Kelly Kozakevich, Andrew Simon, Avis Murphy
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Kimberly D. Stratton
EDITOR Donnie Mathias
COMPOSER Ian Berry
PRODUCTION DESIGN Noah Ouellette
After embarrassing herself a year prior, an anxious teenage girl attempts to win a high school speech competition that proves to be far more competitive than she thought.
A few years ago I was invited to watch my younger sister compete in her private high school's speech competition. I was immediately intrigued by the politics, drama, and power dynamics that take place during a competition that has little to no reward for its winner. My sister, who was one of the few Mexican Americans competing, spoke about LGBTQ issues and was well received by the judges. Despite her clear skill and unique voice, she didn't stand a chance against the expected annual competitors.
I decided to make a film about this experience. Maggie Gives A Speech! not only serves as a hyperbolic retelling of this experience, but also as a personal journey for me to re-evaluate success. Maggie, who was inspired by my sister, represents innocence and sincerity. Throughout the film, Maggie grows as a threat to those in power in the competition. As an outsider, she's constantly fighting a losing battle. This, however, is not her real problem. She's enslaved to becoming a winner in the eyes of those around her. This is problematic as these people aren't worth pleasing in the first place. Maggie is forced to ask the question, is my success dependent upon others' validation? If so, how far am I willing to go to achieve this type of success?