Q&A with Stephane de Freitas following the screening on 10/13

Each year at the University of Saint-Denis in the suburbs of Paris, the Eloquentia competition takes place to determine the best orator in the class. Speak Up (À voix haute – La Force de la Parole) follows the students, who come from a variety of family backgrounds and academic disciplines, as they prepare for the competition while coached by public-speaking professionals like lawyers and slam poets. Through the subtle and intriguing mechanics of rhetoric, these young people both reveal and discover themselves, and it is impossible not to be moved by the personal stories that surface in their verbal jousts, from the death of a Syrian nightingale to a father’s Chuck Norris–inspired approach to his battle with cancer. Without sentimentality, Speak Up proves how the art of speech is key to universal understanding, social ascension, and personal revelation.