Award-winning short filmmaker Jessica Sharzer makes her feature debut with the teen drama Speak, based on the young-adult novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. Kristen Stewart stars as high school freshman Melinda, who has lost her ability to speak. Ever since a traumatic event that occurred at a party over the summer, she has chosen to remain silent. She's abandoned by her friends, while her mother Joyce (Elizabeth Perkins) is too wrapped up in her own problems to notice. By recalling the details of the past situation, it becomes clear that a date rape occurred. Yet no one has offered her support in order to deal with the psychological consequences. Eventually her art teacher Mr. Freeman (Steve Zahn) reaches out, helping her develop ways to express herself. Also starring Hallee Hirsh and Eric Lively. Speak premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 as part of the American Spectrum competition.