Searching for the courage to overcome his stutter and share his poetic gift, William - a young uptown yuppie - ventures into the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans to immerse himself into the city's gritty Spoken-Word scene at The Slam Poetry Cafe. Elaine runs The Slam and takes a liking to this unlikely regular to her club. She challenges him to rise above his fears, step up to the mic, and finally let his voice be heard.

Filmed on location in the Lower Ninth Ward, WORDS is a soulful depiction of the city's artistic and cultural hospitality. It's a story of courage, friendship, and self-discovery.

  • Andy Phillips
  • Andy Phillips
  • Andy Phillips
  • Brennan Robideaux
  • Andy Phillips
    Key Cast
  • Miia Ashley
    Key Cast
  • Lash Dooley
    Key Cast
  • Matthew Martinez
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Comedy, Poetry, Short Narrative, Disability
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 50 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 21, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    6,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Festival de Cannes, Short Film Corner
    May 18, 2016
  • NewFilmmakers New York
    New York, NY
    United States
    May 11, 2016
  • Louisiana International Film Festival
    Baton Rouge, LA
    United States
    April 16, 2016
  • Cayman International Film Festival
    Grand Cayman
    Cayman Islands
    July 2, 2016
  • Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival
    Austin, TX
    United States
    November 12, 2016
  • Southern Screen Festival
    Lafayette, LA
    United States
    November 12, 2016
  • InShort Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    October 21, 2016
Director Biography - Andy Phillips

Director Andy Phillips fell in love with movies at an early age in large part due to his father's rather premature introduction to the great comedies of the late '70s & early 80's including The Jerk, Stripes, The Blues Brothers, Animal House, and many others. With such influences, Phillips spent much of his elementary and high school years writing and filming sketches with friends.

He eventually moved to New York City to study and perform at The Upright Citizens Brigade and then ultimaetly went on to earn his MFA from The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University.

Originally form Louisiana, Phillips now lives in NYC and is the founder of Y'ALL MEDIA, a narrative film production company with a focus on telling diverse stories through strong artistic collaboration.

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Director Statement

When I set out to create WORDS as a first time filmmaker, I had three goals. The first was to tell a story that had a strong commitment to authenticity of the subjects it addressed: stuttering and poetry. The second was to inspire audiences to pursue their own dreams and share their unique talents. And lastly, I knew I wanted to return to my roots in southern Louisiana. With these objectives in mind I launched into a fascinating development period in which I was fortunate enough to meet with poets, writers, teachers, researchers, speech pathologists, community organizers, founders of national stuttering organizations, poets who stutter, business leaders and even CEO's who stutter.

I took on a sense of responsibility to represent these stories with sincerity and compassion. Stories like the one internationally renowned poet Phil Kaye describes in his poem "Repetition," in which he talks about the stutter he had as a child. Others like Greer E. Mendy and her community gathering place, The Tekrema Center for Art & Culture in New Orleans, where they hold monthly poetry readings open to anybody who wants to attend.

It became increasingly evident that the characters and themes in WORDS were much more than just mere elements of my film, they were symbols of real journeys. And in the end the lines between art imitating life and vice versa became blurred. I know I wrote The Slam before I discovered The Tekrema Center. I know I wrote the character of William before I heard Phil Kaye's poem. But the unexpected links between the story I had written and the stories of the many people that I had the pleasure of meeting along the way was the life force that quite literally willed this production into existence.

In the end, I put all my heart into WORDS. I told the story with as much passion and authenticity as I could. I gratefully was able to return to my roots and film on location in Louisiana. And now, my dream is that the love and care that went into this film is felt by audiences and provokes hope and inspiration.