British animator Suzie Hannah teamed up with New Zealand’s poet laureate Bill Manhire for this poetry film, part of the Fierce Light series co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and Writers Centre Norwich. It was “Voiced by Stella Duffy, with Sound Design by Phil Archer,” says the description on Hannah’s website, which continues:
Mud and and pigment animation interpreting Bill Manhire’s poem about tragic death of youths in WW1, comprised of 14 short epitaphs for unknown NZ soldiers killed at the Somme, and for unnamed refugees drowning as they flee from wars now, 100 years later.
The film has been selected for screening at the following: 14th London Short Film Festival 2017, Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2016, O Bhéal Poetry Film Festival 2016, Zebra Poetry Film Festival 2016, Interfilm 32nd International Short Film Festival Berlin 2016
“Known Unto God writes the epitaphs to the lost of our world: those fallen soldiers of the Somme whose bodies were never found; those refugees of today who drown seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Bill Manhire and Suzie Hanna have created a bold and powerful memorial to the voiceless, and a reminder that WW1 was a conflict that shook the entire world, and that our lives have grown ever more interconnected since. ” Sam Ruddock, Writers Centre Norwich
This is the winning poem from New Zealand’s National Schools Poetry Award for young writers (Year 12 and 13 students). The animation is by a commercial design agency, Neogine Design. I’m not always crazy about kinetic text animations; this is a good example of how to do it right, I think. And while I might’ve preferred a soundtrack, silence isn’t a bad choice, either, considering the subject of the poem.
This is actually the second time I’ve posted a video for this poem by the great Maori poet, and it might be worth looking at the other one — a fairly straight-forward kinetic text piece — before watching this one, where the text is whispered and fugitive. But this film is superlative in every way, an astonishingly gorgeous piece that must be watched with the volume up and the video expanded to full-screen. According to the notes at Vimeo,
Rain is the first of Maria-Elena films in which she explores our connection with Nature, human-nature and the idea that everything in the universe is interlinked……..Rain was made in 2006 as the final year project of the Graduate diploma in digital animation at Unitec Auckland…. Maria-Elena has just completed her next film Meniscus