Posts in Category: Author-made videopoems

The Final Neural Firings of the Eternal Starlet by Matt Mullins

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An internet-enabled collaboration between Matt Mullins (poem and video-audio composition) and Marc Neys, A.K.A. Swoon (editing, original footage and music). The voiceover is by Raquel Falcon.

Epitaph in Reverse by Bianca Stone

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Brooklyn-based poet and artist Bianca Stone is well known for her poetry comics, but she also makes poetry videos. This animation was featured back in April on the always-invaluable Tin House Reels. Ilana Simons writes:

Epitaph in Reverse, today’s feature from Bianca Stone, includes the sort of artistic play that shows the author’s permissive relationship to her own creative mind. There is an elasticity to Stone’s process- she lets ink drops bleed, invites smudging, and whitewashes sections of her drawings for an explicit redo.

“Since I end up eviscerating the art during the filming, I sometimes start with old drawings that I’m ok deconstructing,” Stone says. “It’s really a trial and error. Which is fun as hell. I like to think of the process of making the video as a big part of the final product. In other words, you see a lot of my process in the final product.”

Stone describes her method of creation as such: “I sit at my drafting table and use my iphone usually, with a tiny tripod and a bright light on. I’m always alone. I have a beer. I first start taking pictures of the drawing I’ve started. I draw and photograph, draw and photograph, until my phone gets too hot. Then I load the photos into imovie and play with speed and filters. I find a song that fits or record my own music on GarageBand. A video takes me about five hours, depending on the length of the poem.”

The result is wild play, with guts.

Read the rest.

Stone’s blog appears to have gone missing from her long-time URL poetrycomics.com—temporarily, I hope. In the meantime, check out more of her work on YouTube. (And in some nice synchronicity, she has a poem up today on Poetry Daily.)

The City by Ghayath Almadhoun and What Gas by Marie Silkeberg

This innovative videopoem about the destruction of Damascus, The City, alternates lines from a poem by Ghayath Almadhoun, translated from Arabic by Catherine Cobham and read by female voices, and a poem by Marie Silkeberg, translated from Swedish by Frank Perry and read by male voices. The readers are people from the streets of Stockholm. Silkeberg composed the sound montage and Almadhoun the montage of found footage from the internet. He mentioned in a recent interview that the film has been screened in more than 150 festivals.

Aerial Manoeuvres by Robert Peake

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A new poetry film from the husband-and-wife team of Robert Peake and Valerie Kampmeier. Peake posted the text to his blog along with some brief process notes, which are worth quoting in full, since they show how organically the film developed:

I had a feeling of the kind of film-poem I wanted to create here, something about flight. I used Blender to render a flock of birds and then composited them together with historic aviation footage from the Prelinger Archives. The poem wrote itself after that, and Valerie’s piano accompaniment followed. We also recorded birdsong on an H1 Zoom and looped it to create a backdrop of sound.

The Celebration by Ghayath Almadhoun and Marie Silkeberg

This is of the best poems about war I’ve ever read (or heard). It’s by the Syrian-born Palestinian poet Ghayath Almadhoun, from التفاصيل (The Details), translated by Catherine Cobhamin, in a film adaptation that he made in collaboration with the Swedish poet Marie Silkeberg—a partnership described in a recent interview in Arabic Literature (in English). The English titling floats and disappears above a bombed-out city: Berlin. As Almadhoun describes it in the interview,

The material you saw, this is Berlin, and nobody saw it before. Not even the Germans. I have thirteen minutes from July 1945, forty-five days after the war, somebody filmed it.

Yes, National Geographic maybe they bought five seconds, and I think in the BBC documentary they bought around seven seconds, because it’s so expensive. Nobody knows how I got it, and I think if they saw it, they will take me to court. Because the owner of this material is one of the biggest companies in Hollywood. But still, I want the people to see this. No one has seen Berlin like this.

I use eight minutes of it in this film.

AL: And the poem?

GM: The poem is written about Damascus. But it has in the beginning something about Berlin. And I feel that there is no difference between destruction and destruction. Yes, the story of Berlin is different — they attacked the world, the world attacked them.

What’s happening in Syria is different. The destruction in Syria is more. If you look at the suburbs of Damascus, you will find that most of the buildings have fallen down. While in Berlin it was only the roofs. So I can compare the situation in Syria for example with Hiroshima or Dresden, only.

Do read the rest of the interview, which was especially interesting to me for its defense of poet-made films, as opposed to some of the very slick animations that are appearing online and at poetry film festivals these days:

Why should I only write my poem and wait until a professional can make a video? He always chooses classic and simple things because he’s not a poet.

I want the poets to make poetry films, and I and I want the focus to be on the poem. If the focus is on the film, then go to the short film.

The quality of the poem should be added to the question. The animations are really beautiful, and some of them are really expensive. I remember one of the films cost maybe one million dollars. They got a prize. For me, if I was on the jury, I would not give them a prize. Because the poem was really bad.

Almadhoun gets to say this, in my opinion, because he is both a masterful poet and a good filmmaker. I’m also grateful to him for making his YouTube channel public and the videos shareable. You can expect to see his other collaborations with Silkeberg here soon.

Ne pas oublier (Don’t forget) by Katia Viscogliosi

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An understated “poetic essay” that gathers unexpected emotional force toward the end. It’s the work of the videoartist collaborators Derviches Associés—Katia Viscogliosi and Francis M.—and has been screened at Festival Miden in Athens, Visible Verse in Vancouver, and the 2008 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin.

Between « do not forget to pay the electricity bill » and « do not forget in 1967 I was a princess and
the world was magic », there are some links, memories, hopes, cries. Life, somehow.

Office Building at Night by Tim Cumming

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An author-made filmpoem by British poet Tim Cumming, who notes at Vimeo that

A line from one of Raymond Chandler’s thrillers inspired the start of this poem, Shelley’s Ozymandias inspired the end, and time gave me the middle, worked on through the winter and spring of 2014, taking for its model Richard Seifert’s 1972 Brutalist Kings Reach Tower by Blackfriars Bridge, where I worked for a number of years at a west-facing window on the ninth floor in the Programmes Department. The soundtrack includes field recordings from Novi Sad, Posnan, Rue Git de Coeur in Paris, and Soho, and the fire was lit in a pot belly stove sometime in 2007.

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