Dutch filmmaker Helmie Stil‘s latest filmpoem, just released online yesterday, is a brilliant follow-up to her award-winning The Opened Field. Like that film, it’s based on a poem from the UK Poetry Society’s 2017 National Poetry Competition, this time the commended poem “Muirburn” by Yvonne Reddick, a scholar of ecopoetry and up-and-coming poet from the northwest of England. And like Dom Bury’s “The Opened Field”, “Muirburn” is an unsettling poem that gives Stil plenty of room to subvert viewers’ expectations, steering just close enough to standard, narrative film-making to draw us in and reveal the—I would argue—true, uncanny reality of nature and our relationship with it. One of the National Poetry Competition judges, Pacale Petit, noted that the poem itself contains “filmic flashes, which dissolve and sear as if glimpsed through a furnace”, and added that it “concludes on an astonishing parting image”—a real gift to the filmmaker, who certainly rose to the challenge.
The film premiered in March, according to the Poetry Society’s announcement post:
Yvonne Reddick also won the inaugural Peggy Poole Award, and the film ‘Muirburn’ was premiered at the Peggy Poole Award readings at Bluecoat, Liverpool on 13 March 2019.
The Desktop Metaphor is a film by Helmie Stil of Caleb Parkin’s second placed poem in the National Poetry Competition 2016, commissioned by Alastair Cook of Filmpoem in partnership with the Poetry Society.
Dutch filmmaker Helmie Stil is also the organizer of Filmpoem Festival 2017 at the Depot in Lewes on October 28, which will include a screening of all ten of the films made for the 2016 winners of the UK Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition.
Caleb Parkin is a “poet, performer, artist, facilitator and educator, based in Bristol.” His poem on the page takes an interesting diptych-like form as the words echo back and forth from one line to the next.