Based on a poem by U.S. poet R.A. Villanueva, this was commissioned by London’s 2015 Dance Film Festival UK—”a collaboration between the dancer/choreographer, Julie Ann Minaai, and Garrett and Garrett, a brother-sister team of filmmakers,” as Villanueva told me via email. Michael and Katie Garrett work for a variety of clients, but according to the Dance Film Festival UK website,
their real passion lies in filmmaking for the arts, particularly, poetry, dance and music. They have won several awards for their dance and poetry pieces as well as producing a documentary which won the Channel 4 short documentary award at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival. […]
The piece “You will drown for poems” is a continuation of their love of collaborative arts projects and mixes poetry with movement for the screen. The key theme in this piece is that of the migrant artist and it reflects upon the importance of one’s work as a link to home and sense of belonging.
I’ve seen a lot of innovative dance-centered poetry films over the years, but this is the first aquatic one that I can remember, and Julie Ann Minaai‘s choreography takes full advantage of the dream-like movement of fabric and diffuse lighting available underwater. The evocative music is credited to Cato Hoeben. As for the poem, it originally appeared in Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry, and carries the dedication “for Dennis Kim, 1983-2005.”
This filmpoem by Katie Garrett is an excellent demonstration of how to stay close to the imagery of a poem without merely illustrating it and diminishing both film and text in the process. The text, by Mark Pajak, is a Commended poem from the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition 2014. Judge Zoë Skoulding’s remarks on the poem already seem to anticipate the filmpoem:
The ingenious structure of ‘Cat on the Tracks’ produces an eerie sense of inevitability, where the lines of both poem and the train hurtle on their collision course. The filmic detail of the cat’s eyes’ slow blink draws us into a parallel world in which physical laws seem – just for a moment – suspended.
This well-filmed dance interpretation of a poem by Ella Jane Chappell is one of ten shortlisted films for the Southbank Centre’s inaugural Shot Through the Heart Poetry Film competition. Katie Garrett of Garrett and Garrett Videography directs, with choreography by Anna-Lise Marie Hearn. The dance company, AniCo., has a webpage about the film. The text is worth quoting at length for the insight it gives into dance-focused poetry videos, an important subset of poetry video generally:
Rolling Frames is an intimate and personal look into the scenarios of three very different relationships that are affected and manipulated by dependency.
At the heart of Rolling Frames are a series of shifting voices and characters that inhabit three very different relationships. These relationships are linked by the role that dependency plays in each. To some extent, every relationship involves a yielding of independence. The poem dissects this manner of yielding: the manifestation of greed in desire, the vulnerability in love, the loneliness in lust.
The physicality and inner rhythms of the words are translated once over by the expressive movements of dance, and once again through the gaze of the camera’s eyes.