Filmmaker: Elizabeth Masucci

Apartment Living by Meghan O’Rourke

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Elizabeth Masucci directs and stars in this adaptation of “Apartment Living” by Meghan O’Rourke — the second installment in Masucci’s ambitious poetry short film anthology series (Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” was the first).

It’s always great to see professionally made, narrative cinema-style poetry films that seek to inhabit a poem and take it in new directions rather than just using it as a jumping-off point. Apartment Living compares very favorably with other recent, stand-out films of this type such as Lotus Hannon’s The Expiration (based on John Donne) and Laura Scrivano’s A Lovesong (based on Prufrock).

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

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A narrative-style poetry film directed by Elizabeth Masucci and starring Danielle Brooks from Orange Is the New Black. Alfredo Alcántara is the cinematographer, Eric Spang edited, and Andrew Freedman wrote the score. It’s the first of a projected five-film series of poetry shorts celebrating women than Masucci plans to direct. A crowd-funding campaign has raised nearly $15,000 to support the project so far. Masucci writes:

I’ve always been a sucker for a good poem. Call me nerdy or sentimental, but it’s the truth. I love beautiful language. Unfortunately, poetry isn’t considered “cool” or “popular” like it used to be. We can change that. Bill Murray said “poetry is the voice of the soul.” A good poem gets to the truth of humanity more than any other art form. This is why I’d like to use poetry in these short films instead of standard dialogue.

Women in the entertainment business have to take a back seat most of the time. And as an actress, I find that there aren’t as many interesting and dynamic roles for women as there are for men. There aren’t enough compelling and truthful female voices in entertainment. These are my reasons for making these poetry short films about the female experience through the voices of female poets.

Click through to read more about the series.