“Speeth has lifted the horizon to the loftiest levels of literary and artistic achievement and has made an exemplary success of it.” —Time Magazine
Christopher Eric Speeth has been a producer-director since 1970 and his work includes art films, horror, and segments featured on architecture for BBC and segments for America’s Most Wanted, Final Justice, and Nightline. Most recently, Speeth generously donated the use of exclusive footage of Martin Luther King which he had filmed in the 1960s and 1970s, for the Elfenworks Foundation’s project, the website inequality.com at Stanford University. He generously lends his expertise to The Elfenworks Foundation often.
Speeth’s accolades include first place for one of his films at the Festival dei Popoli in Florence and he has also been cited in the NY Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, and Moscow Film Festival. Most recently, his film Malatesta’s Carnival was selected for the Eerie Horror Film Festival, where it won an award for best vintage film. He is currently hard at work on a number of elfenworks projects ranging from the birth of the computer to concert documentaries.
Speeth holds a bachelors degree in mathematics from Kenyon College and a Masters in Communication from Annenberg School (Annenberg Center of the University of Pennsylvania) where he studied film under Solomon Wishnepolsky (Worth). His many experimental shorts and documentaries include:
- Motion Teaser – an experimental dance film with Roberta Pixer in which the camera danced along with the dancer.
- Up Madison Avenue – a bus ride uptown
- Sugar – a film on Diabetes for the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
- Signs of Life – a film on the work of Venturi & Rauch for the National Endowment for the Arts
- Mother, Mother, I am Ill – on the delivery of healthcare to poor families – for CBS.
- The Grand Old Lady of Locust Street – for ABC.
- Dona Nobis Pacem – a film on the peace movement which was cited at the Festival dei Popoli in Florence and the Robert Flaherty film seminars.
The Festival dei Popoli in Florence and the Robert Flaherty film seminars also screened his documentary, Eakins on the American painter, Thomas Eakins. Eakins is in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art and was given rave reviews in Variety by Gerald Pratley after a screening at the Stratford Festival in Ontario:
This ambitious, 35m, color and b&w study of the famous American artist, Thomas Eakins, is a refreshing and startling change from most art films dealing with the life and work of painters. . . The film never labors its points by excessive commentary or pretentious interpretations. It has a living, human quality about it; a biographical study touching deeply on the complex nature of the man’s life and work. Likelihood of theatre showings is limited, but every art gallery should have a print and ETV should welcome it.” –Variety
Additional Background [reprinted from an article in Time Magazine]
“A lawyer’s son, Speeth grew up in Cleveland with a bewildering variety of talents. He began studying the violin at 3 1/2, won numerous musical competitions while also acting at the Cleveland Playhouse. He also painted; Washington’s National Gallery owns some of his work. In high school he won third prize at the National Science Fair for building a symbolic logic computer. Speeth started his theatrical training with his three brothers under K. Elmo Lowe and Esther Mullen at the Cleveland Playhouse where he performed in many plays on stage, radio and television. He appeared in Carson McCuller’s Member of the Wedding at The Karamu House with his brother Jeffrey who had a leading role alongside Ethel Waters. Later, at Kenyon College he won a dramatic competition by directing Wozzeck. Mr. Speeth went to Philadelphia where he started the Philadelphia Theatre for Children and became known for staging hundreds of classical plays ranging from early Greek Satyr Plays to contemporary plays by Samuel Beckett, Ionesco, Jonathan Kleinbard and Chandler Brossard together with a staff of fifteen people in the old Drew-Barrymore House which later became the Friends Neighborhood Guild. During the Sputnik scare of the 60’s, he worked with Jerome Bruner of Harvard University in developing educational materials for children. ” –Time Magazine