‘Nerd Prom’: a Portrait that Became Critique that Became a Love Letter

"This should not be our Super Bowl."

When former FishbowlDC editor and Politico reporter, Patrick Gavin, set out to make a film about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, his initial intent was merely to paint a “portrait” of the dinner.

But like the dinner itself, what started off as a simple project became something much grander. Unlike the week long event, however, Patrick’s film wound up looking inward — a critical look at how a dinner originally comprised of 50 White House correspondents and the President seems to have lost itself.

Last night’s screening of “Nerd Prom: Inside Washington’s Wildest Week” at the E Street Cinema was followed up by a Q&A with Gavin, the movie’s writer and director, and radio show host Bill Press. Press’s first question to Gavin was whether he was the right person to be criticizing the dinner, as he use to be a part of the machine that fed silly questions to celebrities and politicians at the WHCD.

“The dinner is sort of the lens through which I try to say that this town’s priorities are completely out of whack,” said Gavin. “I actually don’t have a problem with the dinner. I actually don’t have a problem with people not inviting me to parties. It’s their party. If they don’t want me to come, I don’t have to go. I don’t have a problem with corporate sponsorships. Corporations do lots of wonderful things. The thing I have a problem with is this being our highlight every year. This should not be our Super Bowl.”

Gavin was also asked by an audience member what would happen to the hospitality industry in Washington if the dinner where to go away, and if he was concerned about those effects:

“I don’t think you have to get rid of the parties. Just make a donation to the scholarship fund,” responded Gavin. “I don’t think you have to get rid of the parties. Maybe ask them to bring some awareness to the work of White House correspondents? I don’t think you should get rid of the dinner. Keep doing it… I think there’s a way for you to have your cake and eat it too.”

As Patrick would describe the film, it’s “a love letter to White House correspondents.”

Moral of the story: there’s nothing wrong with a little partying, as long as we remember what the week is really about… more scholarship money and more love for our White House correspondents.

Notable guests included Alexis Simendinger, Andrea Seabrook, Anne Cronin, Annie Groer, Becca Watkins, Benny Johnson, Beverly Kirk, Bill Press, Carrie SheffieldCarl Cannon, Christi Parsons, Connie Lawn, Daniel Lippman, David Chalian, Dennis Kucinich, Eddie ScarryEmily Heil, Emily KuhnErin McPike, Garance Franke-Ruta, George Condon, Hadas Gold, Howard Mortman, Janet Donovan, Jeff Dufour, Joe Curl, Karl Frisch, Kenny Day, Kimball Stroud, Kyle VolpeLee Brenner, Manuela CavalieriMatt Dornic, Matt Sobocinski, Meredith Merrill, Michael Schwab, Olivia Petersen, Peter Mirijanian, Ryan Grim, S.E. Cupp, Sean Spicer, Steve Thomma, Sue Davis, Tareq Salahi, and Tommy Christopher.