Poema Cas’leluia & Final Brega (take dezessete) / Poem with Flying Termites & Cheesy Ending (take seventeen) by bagadefente

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An at-times quite literal but nevertheless thoroughly entertaining videopoem from bagadefente, “a brazilian self-taught multimedia artist, who creates works in several languages & media, specially video, writing & prints, using Chance and Chaos as its main creative tools.” I liked the use of text-on-screen, and the soundtrack by Dael Vasques was another favorite element (I’m a sucker for banjo music), but mostly I just liked the quirky, improvisational feel. And I see I’m not alone: According to the Vimeo description, it was screened in most of the major poetry-film festivals last year.

Can’t Sleep by Lucy English

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Kind of a horror-movie vibe to this filmpoem by James W. Norton, who writes on Vimeo,

This film is an artistic response to the wonderfully sublime and uncanny poem ‘Can’t Sleep’ written and read by Lucy English for her project ‘The Book of Hours‘. [links added]

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

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A narrative-style poetry film directed by Elizabeth Masucci and starring Danielle Brooks from Orange Is the New Black. Alfredo Alcántara is the cinematographer, Eric Spang edited, and Andrew Freedman wrote the score. It’s the first of a projected five-film series of poetry shorts celebrating women than Masucci plans to direct. A crowd-funding campaign has raised nearly $15,000 to support the project so far. Masucci writes:

I’ve always been a sucker for a good poem. Call me nerdy or sentimental, but it’s the truth. I love beautiful language. Unfortunately, poetry isn’t considered “cool” or “popular” like it used to be. We can change that. Bill Murray said “poetry is the voice of the soul.” A good poem gets to the truth of humanity more than any other art form. This is why I’d like to use poetry in these short films instead of standard dialogue.

Women in the entertainment business have to take a back seat most of the time. And as an actress, I find that there aren’t as many interesting and dynamic roles for women as there are for men. There aren’t enough compelling and truthful female voices in entertainment. These are my reasons for making these poetry short films about the female experience through the voices of female poets.

Click through to read more about the series.

Bølgeslag / Waves: three poems by Tor Ulven

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This may be my favorite Kristian P./Gasspedal animated poetry film yet. It was just released from password protection on Vimeo a week ago after a three-year tour of film festivals. It premiered at the Norwegian publishing house Gyldendal in 2013 on what would have been Tor Ulven’s 60th birthday. Here’s the description from Vimeo (italics mine):

Everything disappears. Recordings of our voices will become archeological remains, and a spinning record yields fossil waves. Waves is based on three poems by Tor Ulven.

Tor Ulven (1953–1995):
Ulven made his debut as a poet in 1977, with the poetry collection Skyggen av urfuglen (Shadows of the Primordial Bird). Today, Ulven’s works enjoy an iconic status, and his poetry and prose have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Russian and other languages.

Words & voice by Tor Ulven
Design & animation by Kristian P.
Produced by Audun Lindholm & Harald Fougner

Based on three poems from Ulven’s poetry collection Forsvinningspunkt (Vanishing Point), Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1981.

First Aid to Control Bleeding by Cindy St. Onge

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Cindy St. Onge calls this “a video remix dirge.” To me, it’s political remix videopoetry done right: responsive to the political moment yet aesthetically balanced and restrained, and highly imaginative in its juxtaposition of image and text (from a first aid manual). St. Onge includes just long enough of a clip from the cellphone video of a dying Philando Castile for the content to register with the viewer, but not so much that it seems disrespectful or exploitative, I think.

To Be There by Sharon Lenger

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An author-made videopoem from 2008 by Israeli filmmaker Sharon Lenger, offering “Brief glimpses into residential apartments in Tel-Aviv. An attempt to breathe in the life that is there, and feel slightly at home,” according to the description in the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival’s 2010 archive, where it was part of a program called “Poetic Tel Aviv.” In addition to ZEBRA, the video has been shown in galleries and at festivals around the world, winning first prize in the “Life into Art” show at the Pen and Brush gallery, New York, and second prize at EMERGEANDSEE 2011, Berlin.

Ends by Saba Riazi

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An author-made videopoem by Saba Riazi, a young Iranian filmmaker who divides her time between Tehran and Brooklyn. The music and sound design are by Bahar Royayi. To see more of Riazi’s very personal, idiosyncratic work, check out the videopoems page on her website. Her statement at the head of that page is worth quoting in full, so that perhaps other filmmakers in her situation will feel inspired to follow her example:

To us NYU film graduates, high production values are almost equal to ethics and principles. After three and a half years of having “Ice cream” my first feature in post production I realized I have lost “time” waiting for finances to come to be able to finish Ice cream. This has been the issue for many of my colleagues who wanted to make REAL MOVIES. So I decided, in the meantime I will shoot my life on my iphone or Canon 70D as I go, when I can and where I can and I will try to finish up weekly or biweekly video projects, freestyle, almost in form of a poem. You might notice sound pops, imperfect cuts and abstract narratives in these pieces and although those are conscious and some intentional, the only reason I make these videos is that they actually make me happy. They are very personal creative projects and they give me a chance to express myself and exercise my craft, without worrying about industry standards and three act structure and so on and so forth. [link added]