Appraisal by Melissa Diem

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A poetry film by Irish poet and filmmaker Melissa Diem, with sound production by Colm Slattery.

Screened at FILMPOEM 2013 as part of the main programme, Dunbar, Scotland.
Selected for the CologneOFF IX – 9th Cologne International Videoart Festival
Selected for the 2013 VISIBLE VERSE FESTIVAL

A poetry film that explores ideas of alienation and personal identity in relation to others and by testing the limits within the self. Filmed in Ireland in 2013.

Ungleiche Brüder / Unequal Brothers by Gerhard Rühm

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This short piece by Austrian filmmaker Hubert Sielecki for a poem by Gerhard Rühm was cited by videopoetry pioneer and theorist Tom Konyves as an example of a good sound text videopoem, in a new, lengthy comment at the Moving Poems forum. (This was in response to a Russian translator of his “Brief summary of videopoetry” requesting examples of each of the five types he identifies in the piece.)

The Horse Plough by Marcarthur Baralla

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A professional filmmaker‘s first venture into videopoetry. Baralla tells me he lives in Brooklyn, and shot the footage for this film in Maine.

History of a future by Renee Reynolds

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This was the grand prize winner of the 2012 Shanghai Tunnels Project International Video Festival. According to the festival page on the Unshod Quills website,

Renee Reynolds is a freelance writer from Chicago living and working in Shanghai since 2007. Olivier Wyart is a freelance designer from Paris living and working in Shanghai since 2009. The poem was compiled over the course of five years in China by an American expatriate scribbling in the subways of Shanghai. The video ventures to visually straddle the mishmash of East, West, history and future colliding in the text.

Landays: Pashtun women’s poetry from Afghanistan

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Produced by the Poetry Foundation to accompany the June issue of Poetry magazine, which was entirely devoted to the two-line Afghani poems known as landays. Seamus Murphy‘s film includes lots of stunning shots, and displays familiarity with the filmpoem genre in its imaginative conjunctions of text and image. Murphy has been taking still photographs in Afghanistan since 1994, and some of them accompany his fellow journalist Eliza Griswold‘s essay on, and compilation of, landays for the magazine. One thing the film contributes to the issue is the sound of the Pashto originals, which aren’t otherwise included in the online feature.

A story from PBS NewsHour provides additional background about the project:

A Westray Prayer by John Glenday

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A Westray Prayer by C.J. Hurst

Filmpoem 32/A Westray Prayer by Alastair Cook

A Westray Prayer by Marc Neys (aka Swoon)
(See Marc’s blog for some process notes.)

One of the highlights of the Filmpoem Festival earlier this month in Dunbar, Scotland, was a screening of five films by five different filmmakers for this same poem, all of them employing the same reading by the author, which they were not allowed to cut up. This meant that each of the filmmakers had to decide how to fill the silence before and after the short text. John Glenday himself attended the screening, reading and introducing his poem, which, he pointed out, is partly about silence. “When we’re silent, we’re letting the world in,” he said, adding: “Silence gets all the best phrases.”

The other two filmmakers who contributed work for the screening, Ian Henderson and James Norton, don’t appear to have uploaded their films to the web, though Norton has shared his audio track at SoundCloud:

Ozymandius by Percy Bysshe Shelley (Breaking Bad trailer)

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If this video has not been made available in your country, try one of the unofficial YouTube uploads: here or here.

American cable TV channel AMC has created what I think must be the first videopoem ever made as a trailer for a television show, the award-winning crime drama Breaking Bad. In another first, the video garnered a feature in the NY Daily News:

Did “Breaking Bad” just drop a literary spoiler about its upcoming season?

On Tuesday, AMC released a chilling new teaser for the long-anticipated final episodes of the series. The clip shows no characters, no plot and no obvious hints. In fact, the video is only scenery shots of the New Mexico desert, interspersed with a few glimpses of White’s home and abandoned meth-cooking trailer and one peek at what looks like White’s hat, lost in the sand.

The real hint is the soundtrack: Bryan Cranston, who plays meth kingpin [Walter] White, reading aloud Percy Bysshe Shelley’s sonnet “Ozymandias” over a steady, heartbeat-like thump.

“Ozymandias,” supposedly inspired by the Egyptian statue of Ramesses II, is a particularly appropriate choice for the series. The central theme of the poem is the inevitable decline of empires.

“Nothing beside remains,” Shelley wrote. “Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/ the lone and level sands stretch far away.”

“Breaking Bad” has always had a bit of a literary bent. Last season, White’s brother-in-law had an important revelation while perusing Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” Will all that White created crumble into decay? Viewers will have to wait until Aug. 11, when the series returns, to find out.

This is, in my view, a highly credible videopoem on its own, and I’m pleased to see that the two official versions on YouTube (one with AMC branding and one without) have so far garnered just shy of 700,000 views. No filmmaker is credited, but I’m assuming that the show’s creator Vince Gilligan had a great deal to do with it, so I’ll put him down as filmmaker until better information comes along.