The result of the first Filmpoem Children’s Workshop led by Alastair Cook for North Light Arts. The film includes five poems read by their authors: Kitty, Alasdair, Andrew, Ben, and Nancy. Ben Dorin James was the cinematographer, and Filmpoem is credited as the director.
Jump Into Air is a poem by Guinevere Glasfurd on the subject of the deathly decline of the British fishing industry, commissioned by North Light Arts. Guinevere, as well as being an exceptional author and poet, has written for the Fishing News, the industry paper, and drew both on this and her stay with the fishermen of Dunbar during this Summer. Jump Into Air has sound commissioned from Luca Nasciuti and was filmed by Alastair Cook using Kodak Ektachrome.
Another in the Absent Voices series of seven filmpoems from Alastair Cook “focused on the celebration of the vast and semi-derelict Greenock Sugar Sheds,” as he put it in the description of a previous film. Scottish poet John Glenday reads his poem (which, I have to say, I absolutely adore).
All seven films will be premiered at the Scottish Poetry Library on December 6:
This performance event features music from Luca Nasciuti and Rita Bradd, along with readings from Vicki Feaver, Brian Johnstone, Sheree Mack and Jennifer Williams, each reading over their film to live accompaniment.
Jane McKie reads and Rebecca Joy Scharp plays the clarsach in this filmpoem by Alastair Cook. It was commissioned by Absent Voices, “a group focused on the celebration of the vast and semi-derelict Greenock Sugar Sheds,” according to Alastair’s note on the previous film in the series, “How Well It Burns” by Brian Johnstone.
A video by John Birdsong of Panman Productions. His decision to combine audio of a reading with the poet’s still face was kind of an interesting departure from the norm, I thought.
Johnstone was a co-founder of the StAnza international poetry festival held each March in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Alastair Cook writes,
How Well It Burns is the third in a series of seven Filmpoems commissioned by Alastair Cook in collaboration with Absent Voices, a group focused on the celebration of the vast and semi-derelict Greenock Sugar Sheds.
How Well It Burns is by poet Brian Johnstone, erstwhile Director of StAnza, the Scottish Poetry Festival and a widely published poet; the other poets in the series are John Glenday, Vicki Feaver, Sheree Mack, Jane McKie, Gérard Rudolf and Jennifer Lynn Williams.
The series of seven will be performed live at the Scottish Poetry Library at an event on 6th December 2012; more information and tickets here.
For more on Brian Johnstone, see his page at the Scottish Poetry Library.
The Herring Trail was commissioned by North Light, based on the poem The Herrin’ Trail by Rita Bradd as part of my summer residency at McArthur’s Store in Dunbar. I spent 3 months there over the summer, working with the fishermen using wet plate collodion (a photographic process from 1851), 120 film and shooting with 8mm and 16mm. This film has scant relation to that, as I’ve used film given to me by the British Council, which is deliberately digitally extrapolated.
To be able to find such a wonderful poet in Rita was inspiring and I asked her to compose for the filmpoem on the Clarsach (or Lever Harp, if you’re not in Scotland) and I read the poem so that she might play. We premiered this at Sally Evan’s Callander poetry weekend in early September 2012 to a full house, with Rita playing live while i read over the film. Lovely to read in my native Scots, though not quite in my natural Galloway Irish/ Ulster Scots brogue!
Alastair works predominantly with lens-based media as an analogue photographer concentrating on antique technologies and as a filmmaker using 8mm and 16mm film, combining these with digital technology to great effect. His award winning film and photography is driven by his knowledge, skill and experience as an architect: this mercurial work is rooted in place and the intrinsic connections between people, land and the sea. Alastair trained at the Glasgow School of Art then fled the country, returning after a dutiful spell in London and a more relaxed time in Amsterdam; he now lives and works in Edinburgh.
(Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a good webpage for Rita Bradd.)