Birdfall by Danica Ognjenovic

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Adele Myers’ filmpoem for a poem by the Yorkshire-based poet Danica Ognjenovic is one of a number of commended poems from the Poetry Society’s 2013 National Poetry Competition, all of which have now been released in film interpretations following their debut at the Filmpoem Festival in Antwerp last weekend. Matthew Sweeney, one of the competition judges, had this to say about the poem:

The poets of Eastern Europe perfected a spare, imagistic kind of writing that left the reader to complete the poem. All was suggested, nothing was spelt out, no explanations were given. So is it with this little poem. The narrator recounts that after three hours at sea, birds fall onto their boat, rest awhile, then take off again. There’s not much information given, but it’s enough to suggest the strangeness and fragility of life.

Tu t’es toujours trompé (You’ve always been wrong) by René Daumal

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Being aware is not a still state,
it’s an act.
If you think about that
when you’re part of a crowd,
you’ll see yourself surrounded by sleepwalkers.

René Daumal was a “French spiritual para-surrealist writer and poet” (Wikipedia), here adapted to video by Katia Viscogliosi and Francis M., A.K.A. Derviches Associés, in a piece that was included in the 6th ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival (October 2012, Berlin) and the “Cinéma fragile” installation at Lyon International Contemporary Art Biennial, Résonance (November 2011).

Aerial Manoeuvres by Robert Peake

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A new poetry film from the husband-and-wife team of Robert Peake and Valerie Kampmeier. Peake posted the text to his blog along with some brief process notes, which are worth quoting in full, since they show how organically the film developed:

I had a feeling of the kind of film-poem I wanted to create here, something about flight. I used Blender to render a flock of birds and then composited them together with historic aviation footage from the Prelinger Archives. The poem wrote itself after that, and Valerie’s piano accompaniment followed. We also recorded birdsong on an H1 Zoom and looped it to create a backdrop of sound.

Strawberry Moon by Erica Goss

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My fingers find the grit
of your chin
like the seed-crowded
tips of strawberries
we stole and ate
in darkness…

This is the 6th installment in the 12 Moons videopoetry series presented by Atticus Review each month in 2014, featuring Erica Goss (text), Nic S. (voiceover), Kathy McTavish (music) and Marc Neys, A.K.A. Swoon (concept, music and direction). Neys shared some process notes on his blog:

A lush short poem that I wanted to give an extra dark layer by adding a bit of ‘danger’.
I went back to the public domain feature Dementia 13 for the footage.
A nightly rendez-vous with a lot of staring between the two characters.
Leaving the story open and full of questions…

I started to work with certain parts of that footage.
Once I had a basic montage, I awaited Nic’s reading to work on a soundscape with musical blocks provided by Kathy.

امر گيت / A Song Everlasting by Attiya Dawood

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All the flowers in my country have been picked
And gunpowder planted instead.
Fragrance breathes its last
In a torture camp.
The very lane where hand in hand with you
I have danced to the music of peace,
There a death-dealer is spread-eagled.

Ammar Aziz directed this poetry film featuring Pakistani poet, writer, and women’s rights activist Attiya Dawood, accompanied by dancer Suhaee Abro. Be sure to press the icon marked “CC” at the bottom of the video to view subtitles in English, Sindhi or Urdu, or click through to the Umang website to read the text in all three languages.

This World (Ten Świat) by Czeslaw Milosz

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A brilliant animated poem from Zbigniew Czapla, a Polish screenwriter, director, animator, painter and graphic artist. It was recently featured on Tin House Reels, accompanied by one of their usual engaging write-ups.

Zbigniew Czapla created this week’s Tin House Reels feature, This World—a short based on the poem of the same title by Czeslaw Milosz—at the invitation of the Fundacja Pogranicze, as part of a multimedia exhibition at the Museum of Czeslaw Milosz in Krasnogruda. Czapla calls his project “a catastrophic vision and poetic perspective on human life as a set of secrets, accidents, and misunderstandings.”

[…]

“Poetry is a difficult subject for animation,” Czapla said. “It should at all costs avoid banality, infantile associations, and overwrought pathos. The text and sound work together around themes, as in jazz improvisation. Topics connect, overlap, and move away from each other in a game of associations.”

“Animated experimental film is a way for me to combine my various fascinations. Painting, music, theater and literature are like pieces of a puzzle, which I try to organize in a new way. If the end result for me is mysterious and unknown, that it is worth doing. The expected effects do not interest me. A lot of the work ends up being unsuccessful, but that always comes with artistic risk.”

Read the rest.

White Fur by Mark Wunderlich

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Motionpoemslatest production was directed by Georgia Tribuiani, an adaptation of a poem by Mark Wunderlich. The Motionpoems website includes bonus materials for the video: interviews with the filmmaker and poet by Jeannie E. Roberts, who writes:

As I watched Georgia Tribuiani’s motionpoem, “White Fur,” I was instantly drawn into her world of light, color, and contrast. Tribuiani sets the scene beautifully and powerfully within Switzer Falls, a wooded area in the San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County. The albino deer, depicted as an African-American albino man, runs barefoot through the woods, where he follows the banks of a stream, eventually stopping to look at his reflection within a pool of water. Tribuiani imagines a story that is, in her own words, suggested: She envisions the albino deer as Narcissus: a young man, mesmerized by his own reflection, who falls in love with it and eventually drowns. Though not necessarily the intent of Mark Wunderlich’s poem, Tribuiani creates a stunning metaphor, a poem within a poem. All great poetry has layers, and this director has found another layer with thought-provoking elegance and creativity.

Read the interviews.