Videopoetry minimalism done right. Trevino L. Brings Plenty wrote and directed, Myron Lameman and Sky Hopinka shot and edited, the voiceover is by Chenoa, and the actors are Chaz and Andy, say the credits.
A love poem for the 21st century by Eleni Cay, who says on YouTube:
This filmpoem is for all those who are frustrated that their partners love their phones more than the time they can spend together!
My big thanks to MK [Milton Keynes] Poet Laureate Mark Niel for the voiceover & guitar, James [Wright] for the sound and all the anonymous filmmakers whose footage I found at Shutterstock.
It’s always fun to find poetry films made by innovators working in isolation from others in the field, since they bring a completely fresh outlook and approach. In the case of Payson R. Stevens, his unique background in science/science communication on the one hand and art and design on the other included helping to
pioneer the field of interactive multimedia starting in 1987. He produced and directed ten acclaimed educational CD-ROM titles on Earth science and environmental subjects, two of which debuted at the Smithsonian Institution’s 1995 Ocean Planet Exhibition. In 1994, InterNetwork received the Presidential Design Award for Excellence from Bill Clinton for the CD-ROM science-journal prototype, Arctic Data InterActive.
The above video is an example of a new type of work that Stevens has trademarked: Video Tone Poems.
In October 2013, a trip to the spectacular Ajanta and Ellora ancient caves in the state of Maharastra, India catalyzed a new integration of my creative expression through video, poetry, photography, and music. I call this work Video Tone Poems™ (VTPs). A tone poem is classically defined as a piece of orchestral music, usually in one movement, on a descriptive or rhapsodic theme.
I believe the Video Tone Poems™ may be a new auteur genre, using all the visual, poetic, and musical tools and technologies to express a unified vision of one individual’s expression in multiple creative arts. Of course, living in the isolation of Behta Pani/Flowing Waters (our Himalayan retreat), I may be deluded or perhaps watching my shadow reflecting on my studio walls…while Plato laughs.
Stevens divides the VTPs into three categories based on the type of message. Entropic Void belongs in the “Afflicted Messages” category, “meditations on the human condition, the environment, and technology, all interacting in this, The Age of Anthropocene (described as the global impacts of human behavior which include climate change, species invasion and extinction, etc.).” Stevens told me in an email, “I screened the VTPs in New Delhi last October and at the San Diego Museum of Art in Feb to a full house and enthusiastic response.”
I’m not sure how I feel about message-oriented poetry in general, but I like this videopoem a lot. There is nothing remotely touristic about his gaze; the people shown are just people, not exoticized others, in keeping with the poem’s hortatory “you.”
A recent videopoem from filmmaker-poet Matt Mullins. This is the way the meadows look now where I live, in central Pennsylvania.
I’m not always enamored of the sorts of poetry films that get chosen as Vimeo Staff Picks, but this one is bloody amazing. “Poem, animation and soundtrack by Oliver Harrison. Commissioned by Animate Projects in conjunction with Lupus Films for Channel 4’s Random Acts.” It won the Best Motion Graphics award at the 2014 Animation Awards, according to Harrison’s website. Enjoy.
(Hat-tip: Nadeen White, via the contact form. Thanks, Nadine!)
Lakota poet, musician and filmmaker Trevino L. Brings Plenty‘s wry send-up of stereotypes of Native Americans. Eva Williams is the actress, and Sky Hopinka and Myron Lameman assisted with cinematography and editing.
I first became aware of Brings Plenty’s involvement with poetry film three years ago: he supplied the voiceover for a book trailer/videopoem featuring Adrian C. Louis, Savage Sunsets. Then last week when I posted Heid E. Erdrich’s latest videopoem and saw his name again, this time credited with the music, I thought I’d better find a web link, and in the process discovered that he was a poet and filmmaker in his own right. The videos on his website include several videopoems, “Maize Dog” among them.
Filmmaker–poet Jason Armstrong Beck’s noirish advice on writing a poem from his online project The Journal of Bison Jack. The minimal Vimeo description notes that it was “Shot in Savannah, Georgia 2015.” (See the film itself for additional credits.)