May Program: Short films from Incarcerated Youth

Cinema Speakeasy is proud to present a showcase of short films produced by incarcerated youth through the Films by Youth Inside (FYI) program.

Date: Tuesday May 4th at 7:45 PM
Place: Echo Park Film Center (1200 N. Alvarado St. @ Sunset, Los Angeles 90026)
Cost: $5 at the door (half goes to the venue, half goes to FYI)
Bring: Drinks, a smile.


  • SOUTH CENTRAL DAZE (TRT 7:40): From California – When Marquis promises his girlfriend to end his streak of home burglaries – he is tempted to do one more to win the favor of his homeys.
  • ELEVATOR (TRT 3:20): From California – When a young man encounters someone who may be his runaway father, his hostilities cannot be contained.
  • PAID WRONG (TRT 6:50): From California – When Joel is released from an LA probation camp, he aims to marry his girlfriend. But has she been loyal?
  • LOVE BETWEEN A BOY AND GIRL (TRT 6:30): From California – Seventeen year old Miguel must choose between his two baby’s mamas.
  • SECOND CHANCES (TRT 8:00): Dirs.: Hawaii Youth Correction Facility Students – A gifted high school football player has the whole world ahead of him – a college scholarship, a chance to improve the life of himself and his mother, and a way to escape his fatherless past. Yet he is willing to risk it all for a quick fix.
  • OUR PATH, OUR JOURNEY, OUR VOICE (TRT 9:00) Dirs.: Steve M., Francis T., Jayanna P., Jon M. – A group of student internees at Guam’s Department of Youth Affairs share their experiences as they prepare to participate in a documentary film project sponsored by DYA and L.A.-based FYI: Films by Youth Inside.


For decades, Los Angeles County has been in the grip of a gang and youth crime epidemic.  According to CAL/GANG, a statewide database maintained by the California Department of Justice, Los Angeles County is home to 1,108 gangs with 85,298 members.  The influence of gang culture on communities and individual is inescapable.  At any given time, approximately 5,000 young people between the ages of 14 and 20 are in Los Angeles County correctional facilities (source: Los Angeles County Department of Corrections).

These are, in many respects, children who have already been left behind.  Los Angeles’ poorly performing school system and shortage of organized cultural and recreational programs have had lasting effects on young people. Job prospects are bleak. The effects of these societal problems are often compounded by shattered families and entrenched poverty.

Films by Youth Inside (FYI) is an ongoing program that provides educational and creative options to incarcerated youth. Program participants learn the basics of screenwriting and filmmaking from film industry professionals and create short films expressive of their own life experiences. The filmmaking process helps participants gain perspective on their lives and their actions, while imparting valuable work and life skills.  Just as important, the films themselves provide a variety of audiences insight into the cultural and societal currents that may give rise to youth violence.

Come support FYI and meet Alex Munoz, who will be on hand to explain the process behind the films.

Wrap Report: Hilarious Raunchy Shorts, April 2010

If tonight were to be summed up in a few phrases, those phrases would be: “totally f*cking awesome” and definitely “hilarious and raunchy”.

A super-rad crowd came out to support our program of local (and some not-so-local) short comedy films, curated by the inimitable Georgi Goldman. There were lots of new faces in the audience, and I’ve never seen more sharing of wine and beer, and chips. No mere shortage of cups would discourage our intrepid film-watchers from downing their bottles of two-buck chuck, as they laughed their guts out.

And of course, we took a bunch of pictures during the course of the night: Be sure to check them out on our Facebook page!

Indie bands together

Curating and running an independent film screening program in the capital of corporate media is not easy. Moreover, there are precious few organizations in this city that attempt the feat of competing for audiences against the mega-plexes and the marketing-heavy (and now – WTF – 3D!) studio releases.

As such, those of us who are making this attempt need to find ways to better support one another by cross-promoting, suggesting films, and, overall, seeing each other as complementary forces, not as competition.

We’re thus excited to let you know that Cinema Speakeasy is joining metaphysical forces with Zak Forsman and Kevin Shah’s CineFIST, David Branin and Karen Worden’s Film Courage and, of course, our spiritual (and occasionally literal) home, the Downtown Independent.

We will all be retaining our autonomy as far as programming and management goes, but we will be making a bigger effort to share audiences, cross-promote and generally support one another. All in all, we’re still sussing out these details and are hoping to join forces with more organizations (the Echo Park Film Center, for instance). Know, however, that when you show your film at one of these events, the full promotional force of the others will also be at your disposal.

Viva los independentes!