I see a lot of religious poetry videos on Vimeo and YouTube, and most of them, it has to be said, are pretty godawful. Not this one! Filmmaker Toby Lewis Thomas and poet Tolu Agbelusi really raise the bar for poetry films of Christian witness in this video uploaded a week ago by the London Diocese, who note:
On 3 June, we hosted a beacon event at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of the global wave of prayer “Thy Kingdom Come”. Tolu Agbelusi, a Nigerian British poet, playwright, facilitator and lawyer, wrote a poem on prayer commissioned specially for the event.
Tolu worships at St Luke’s Kentish Town and her father is Vicar at Christ Church, Crouch End.
The film was made in London by Toby Lewis-Thomas who is part of St John at Hackney church, with the support of Christian Vision.
A poetry-film collaboration between London-based Nigerian poet Tolu Agbelusi and director HKB FiNN of JustJazz Visuals. Somehow the poem’s story of an interpersonal cycle of abuse seems appropriate to the political moment.
Check out a couple of additional films on the Video & Audio section of Agbelusi’s website.
This is one of three short films by the New York-based filmmaker Josh Steinbauer based on poems by Nigerian-born Bangladeshi American writer and photographer Abeer Hoque, all from her book of linked stories, The Lovers and the Leavers (HarperCollins India, 2015). The third partner in this collaboration was the band Dragon Turtle Music, which supplied the soundtrack for each of these deceptively simple videopoems. Watch all three at Scroll.in (but be careful: it’s one of those annoying sites that sends you off into a new article if you scroll down too far).
Inua Ellams‘ contribution to Refugee Tales, a project dedicated to “walking and sharing Tales until indefinite immigration detention ends in the UK.” The film was made by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, shot and edited by Shanshan Chen with additional camera work by Amelia Wong and original music by Paul Mottram. I found this via a post in the excellent online magazine Aeon:
‘No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.’
Occasionally, stories of refugees fleeing desperate circumstances in their home countries make the mainstream news cycle – usually following the horrifying discovery of dozens found dead in transit on land or at sea. But much more frequently, the trying and terrifying journeys of migrants to find a safer place to live go all but ignored.
Having escaped the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, Nigerian-British writer Inua Ellams knows something of the migrant experience, but he says that the nightmarish journeys of refugees is still something he can hardly fathom. Nevertheless, in Inua’s Dolphins, Ellams adds insight and artfulness to the migrant experience by transforming the stories of children who have fled their homelands into poetry, imbuing the horror with a humanity that is compassionate but clear-eyed.