Взрослеют / Growing Up by Ksana Kovalenko

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A quirky, disturbing stop-motion animation by Eugene Tsymbalyuk with text and narration by Ukrainian poet Ksana Kovalenko. Denis Chernysh was the director of photography, and the actors are Victoria Klyosova and Roman Nemtsov. This was the third-place winner in the general competition at CYCLOP 2014.

Tsymbalyuk offers this synopsis in the description at Vimeo:

“Growing up” is an associative video, made under the impression of the short poem. It’s a story about growing up by pain. It’s about the ability to except the inevitable and to gain experience, when the treacherous knife in your spine turns out to be a key able to open new doors for you.

Алый апрель (Scarlet April) by Dmitry Vodennikov

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Ukrainian filmmaker Anzhela (Angie) Bogachenko directed and edited this surrealist videopoem with a text by the contemporary Russian poet Dmitry Vodennikov (who is no stranger to video). That’s Vodennikov’s reading in the soundtrack, which was put together by Victor 78 — the long-haired male lead. The English translation in the subtitles is credited to Anna Shwets. (I like the way even the post-it notes are translated. And I love the post-it notes in general.) The cast includes Zoryana Tarasyuta along with Bogachenko and Victor 78. Vladimir Gusev was the cameraman. Asya was the cat.

Bogachenko also made that delightful film with the dancing cosmonauts that I posted back in October, “А у вас дім далеко від нас?” (Do you have a home away from us?).

Пізнаєш мене (Myself Known) by Zaza Paualishvili

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An author-made videopoem from Ukraine. See YouTube for the text of the poem. Here are the credits:

text Zaza Paualishvili
music Khrystyna Khalimonova
video Zaza Paualishvili
editing Valeriy Puzik
translator Dmytro Shostak

This was screened at the CYCLOP videopoetry festival in Kiev on November 23 as part of a competition called “The Way” (До слова).

Hunter’s Moon and Trapper’s Moon by Erica Goss

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I’ve gotten a couple of months behind on the 12 Moons videopoetry collaboration between Erica Goss (words), Marc Neys/Swoon (concept and directing), Kathy McTavish (music) and Nic Sebastian (voice), so here are parts X, “Hunter’s Moon” (above) and XI, “Trapper’s Moon” (below). About the former, Marc writes:

The wind in this poem led me to a film I used earlier; ‘Terror in the midnight sun’ (Virgil W. Vogel)

I created a ‘windy’ scape using blocks of sound Kathy provided me with, added Nic’s reading and started playing around with the footage. (Different grading, colours,…)

In the end I only used one sequence. Played with repetition… I added a light layer of flickering windows to emphasize the wind even more.

For “Trapper’s Moon,” Marc notes that

Kathy provided me with a beautiful soundtrack, full of nostalgia and melancholy. A perfect fit for Nic’s intense reading.

I wanted very simple and pure images to go with this music. Preferably nature. A forest. Solitude.

Ephemeral Rift filmed one of his winter walks, I edited out a few bits and played around with colouring and timing in a split screen.

As with the others in this year-long series, both films were featured in Atticus Review.

Ironically, one of the reasons I got behind on sharing them was because I took almost two weeks off to go to the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in October… where one of the big draws was seeing all twelve films in order on the big screen, with both Marc and Erica in attendance to introduce them and answer questions afterwards. It was an utterly captivating experience; the films flowed really well one into another, which might not be obvious if you watch them individually on the web. I hope that won’t be the last time that the whole project gets shown in a theater.

What are the next three letters by Sarah Rushford

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Like watching the performance of a shape-shifting blind bard, this videopoem by interdisciplinary artist, writer and designer Sarah Rushford has more than a little of the epic about it. Here’s her description at Vimeo:

In What are the next three letters, metaphoric images are intercut with footage of women whose eyes are closed, saying Rushford’s script of original poetic compositions. The script is a collection of idiosyncratic dialogs between adult and child family members, disabled, confused or challenged individuals, and their caregivers. The women narrators seem mysteriously in possession of the words they say. Their recitation does not seem memorized, neither are they reading the words. This mystery regarding their knowledge of the writing, charges the work. The women narrators are ordinary women of varied ages and races, they are unadorned, uncommon, yet ordinary women. The eyes of the viewer are drawn to the sincere, and spontaneous expressions on the faces of these women, whose eyes are closed. They seem vulnerable, prone to their own emotional reaction to the words they are saying.

(From an Awakened Sleep) by Charlotte Hamrick

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This is not the first time that Nic Sebastian—known for her great reading voice—has made a videopoem with text-on-screen rather than voiceover, but it may be her most satisfying example of that sort of videopoem to date. The text, by New Orleans-based poet Charlotte Hamrick, comes from The Poetry Storehouse, and the music is by Rob Bethel, Todd Brunel and Matt Samolis, with Todd Brunel on clarinet.

Burning House by Jovan Mays and Theo Wilson

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Amid racial tensions in communities such as Ferguson, Missouri, and following the unwarranted deaths of young black men like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, two slam poets confront what it means to be black men in America and in their communities. Theo Wilson, once a victim of police brutality, delves into his internal struggle of dealing with the past encounter, remembering how powerless he felt in the face of his oppressor, and his ensuing resolve to change the rules of the game. Beneath the smoldering anger and aftermath of police violence is a growing disquietude toward the future of race relations. Jovan Mays, the poet laureate of Aurora, Colorado, uses his spoken word to express the turmoil of emotions and experiences inherently attached to growing up a black boy in America.
(Vimeo description)

These two related poetry films are by Mary I. Stevens, an associate producer of digital video at CNBC. They deserve to be seen widely in the wake of yet another grotesque miscarriage of justice in the racist police state that the United States has become. Those of us who have the luxury of merely wallowing in outrage and not fearing for our lives (yet), simply because we happen to have been born with white skin, need to hear the testimony of the victims of police violence and humiliation, and ask ourselves whether our anxious calls for peaceful protest aren’t motivated more out of a desire to sweep unpleasant realities under the rug rather than to actually confront the glaring inequities in our society.

Jovan Mays and Theo E. J. Wilson, A.K.A. Lucifury, are members of the Slam Nuba team, who won the National Poetry Slam in 2011. The first film, an artful blend of interview and poetry, contains a few excerpts from the performance of “Burning House” featured in the second film, but devotes much more space to a poem recited by Mays, “To the Black Boys.” The song “Look Down Lord,” included in both films, is performed by Dee Galloway.