Dolphins (excerpt) by Inua Ellams

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Inua Ellams‘ contribution to Refugee Tales, a project dedicated to “walking and sharing Tales until indefinite immigration detention ends in the UK.” The film was made by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, shot and edited by Shanshan Chen with additional camera work by Amelia Wong and original music by Paul Mottram. I found this via a post in the excellent online magazine Aeon:

‘No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.’

Occasionally, stories of refugees fleeing desperate circumstances in their home countries make the mainstream news cycle – usually following the horrifying discovery of dozens found dead in transit on land or at sea. But much more frequently, the trying and terrifying journeys of migrants to find a safer place to live go all but ignored.

Having escaped the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, Nigerian-British writer Inua Ellams knows something of the migrant experience, but he says that the nightmarish journeys of refugees is still something he can hardly fathom. Nevertheless, in Inua’s Dolphins, Ellams adds insight and artfulness to the migrant experience by transforming the stories of children who have fled their homelands into poetry, imbuing the horror with a humanity that is compassionate but clear-eyed.

Nadien / Afterwards by Marleen de Crée

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you will take your leave of this place
but this place will not take its leave
of you. it is an illness with a voice
that surrounds you. that voice was wet.

A poem and film that seem to speak to the situation of refugees and exiles in Europe and beyond. Flemish poet Marleen de Crée provided the text (from her forthcoming book Druppelpunt) and voiceover, and the English translation in the subtitles is by Willem Groenewegen. Concept, camera, editing and music are the work of Marc Neys A.K.A. Swoon, who notes:

It was the first part of the poem that gave me the idea of showing a person not being able to escape; from her past, from what she did, from her encounters. From who she is…

We have this papier-mâché bear in our house (it will also be used in another video, later this year) that was the perfect prop for this video.
Katrijn Clemer played the woman (and was also responsible for making the bear, years ago).
Once everything was shot (all in one afternoon), the editing process was easy. It all came together perfectly.

I’m very happy with how this one worked out and I consider it one of my best for this year…

This is Swoon’s sixth film made with a text by Marleen de Crée.

The Lie by Anne Waldman

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This is “a random recipe in piecemeal,” according to its creator:

Improvised Movement: Merzili Villanueva
Poem: Anne Waldman
Text Rearrangement + Reading + Audio Recording: Merzili Villanueva
Videography + Video Editing: Merzili Villanueva
Filmed July/August 2015
© 2015 Merzili Villanueva for Let’sLiterasee

Waldman’s poem is first recited in its original form (concluding at 1:43), followed by a condensed selection of lines—a repetition that works well in this context.

Instrucciones para cantar / Instructions for Singing by Julio Cortázar

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A comically literal, manic interpretation of Cortázar’s text, directed by Adrián Suárez with the Akira Cine production company. Other credits include Juan Carlos Gonzáles, director of photography; Real Music, sound design; and Alexander L’Estrange, music. The English translation appears to have been adapted from this one.

Wordpharmacy by Morten Søndergaard

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A documentary/interview from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art of Danish poet Morten Søndergaard‘s wonderful multimedia project Wordpharmacy, which

combines the structure of language with the healing principles of various medicaments. Like pills, language is something to be consumed by the body, and in turn it does not only affect our conceptions of things, but it also comes to designate our very corporal movability in the world. Consequently, words are not only something we consume, they are refractory entities that in turn define and consume us. Wordpharmacy can be seen as a poetical gesture endeavouring to let words work their magic from within the body itself.

The Wordpharmacy is written and produced by the danish poet Morten Søndergaard.

The Wordpharmacy has be shown in several cities like Paris and London and Berlin and Bangor and Tromsø and Voss.

The Wordpharmacy is translated into English by Barbara Haveland and designed by Christian Ramsø and is now available in six languages.

According to the Vimeo description,

Morten Søndergaard was interviewed by Christian Lund at Hardy Tree Gallery in London in April 2014. Thanks to Steven Fowlers and Cameron Maxwell.

Camera: Matthias Pilz
Edited by: Miriam Nielsen
Produced by: Christian Lund

Map of the Underground by Ifor ap Glyn

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A terrific animated film from 2005 directed by Hywel Griffith of Griffilms Animation Studio, featuring a poem by Ifor ap Glyn, two-time winner of the National Eisteddfod of Wales. Music and dub are by Meilyr Tomos.

Fifth Avenue by Hasan Mujtaba

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Oh my beloved country
When I sing of your separation
I return to myself
But all I hear in return,
Is the language of guns…

A poetry film in the style I like to think of as illustrated spoken word—a style that works particularly well for poems that blend the personal and the political. Sofian Khan of Capital K Pictures directed. Here’s the Vimeo description:

An exiled Pakistani poet finds fresh inspiration in his new home, while reflecting on the tragedy of partition that has left a legacy of war and strife in his beloved land. Fragments of a globalized world seem to coalesce here on fifth avenue, strung together in the poet’s mind.

Directed by Sofian Khan / Cinenmatography – Bob Blankemeier / Original Score – Joshua Green / Sound + Mix – Evan Manners / Animation – Will Clark / Makeup – Jackie Push / Starring – Arik Hartman

The English translation is by Annie Ali Khan. I couldn’t find a website for Hasan Mujtaba, but he’s active on Twitter.