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).
Ella Quinn was 17 years old when she directed this film written by Luz Emma Cañas. It’s the winner of the Shoots! Youth Prize and finalist for Best Overall Production at Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2017. A new addition to the festival this year, the Shoots! Youth Prize was sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association and, judging from the finalists, received some very high-quality submissions.
Ella is part of the family production team, PARTICL3, along with her brother Adrian Miles and mother Luz Emma. She served as Creative Director on their first short film, Pas de Deux, which was “Official Selection” at four international film festivals. She also contributed to the fine details of production from script editing to wardrobe selection. Stolen Moments is Ella’s directorial debut and is “Official Selection” at two film festivals for young filmmakers, Young Filmmakers Film Festival and Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival.
And here’s the synopsis:
Stolen Moments is the third in a series of four dance shorts that tell stories of women of color, relationships and intimacy. This story takes place during the Roaring Twenties. From fashion to sexuality, Evelyn is breaking free from societal norms established by the Victorian Era. She is the center of a love triangle with two ladies, Harper and Lily. One love is repressed while the other is realized but not publicly. Like Pas de Deux, our debut film, there is no dialogue in this short. It relies on poetry and visuals to tell the story. The film features three Sufi poems from the book, “Stolen Moments: A Lover’s Recourse,” by Luz Emma Cañas Madrigal who also produced and acts in both films.
“Shot with a 16mm film Bolex, this film depicts an identity that has always existed, but rarely acknowledged,” notes poet-filmmaker Olufunke Adeniyi on her Tumblr blog. Black Woman won Best Production 1 Minute or Under at Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2017, and was a finalist in both the Best Sound/Music and Best Overall Production categories. Toks Adeniyi is the actress and Faith Osunde provided the voiceover; the score is by Olufunke Adeniyi and Jay Moh Productions.
I’ve been championing the dance category of videopoetry for years, so I was pleased to see this worthy representative of it take the top honors at last weekend’s Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival. Written and performed by “modern-day mystic” Rachel Kann, with choreography by her and Jhon Gonzalez, and directed by Brad (Bradford L.) Cooper, it won Best Overall Production and Best Sound/Music (the work of Cooper and Atom Smith). See YouTube for the complete credits and Hevria for the text.