Annie Young Frisbie's first feature film, Speak, premieres on two cable networks
If you can’t imagine a movie centered on a girl who won’t speak, then take heart; movie producer Fred Berner couldn’t understand how it could work, either—at first. But thanks to the vision and the tenacious work ethic of screenwriter Annie Young Frisbie, the screen adaptation of Speak, a young-adult novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, has earned both critical and commercial acclaim.
Not only did Frisbie convince Berner of the film’s merits, but once it was produced, the film also impressed two cable networks. In an unprecedented partnership, Showtime and Lifetime both premiered the film in September 2005.
Frisbie, adjunct instructor in film at Messiah, spent about four years turning Anderson’s book into her first feature film. “I fell in love with the book,” says Frisbie. “I felt like it had something important to say about our responsibilities to the people around us, and the way our pain can be used to make something beautiful.”
After garnering creative accolades on the film festival circuit, Speak’s later cable debut also helped promote social responsibility when it aired along with a public service announcement from RAINN—the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. “This movie,” Frisbie says, “has a lot of power to really help people who are suffering, like [the main character] Melinda.”