Swoon interview and the upcoming ZEBRA festival

Erica Goss’ Third Form column for October features an interview with the amazing Marc Neys (a.k.a. Swoon) and a look ahead to the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival this month in Berlin.

I enjoyed getting a bit more of Marc’s backstory than I knew before:

Although his work has the look of a seasoned professional, Swoon started making his distinctive videos only two years ago. “I watched a lot of movies when I was a kid,” he told me when we talked in August. “When I was fourteen, I told myself I would make a film someday. I watch movies with an eye to the way they’re made. It drives my wife crazy, but I’m always pointing things out to her when we watch films together, especially if the film isn’t very good.” Swoon’s experience – from running “the smallest theater company in Belgium” – just he and his wife – to playing in a band and singing in English when he was sixteen – come together in his poetry videos.

His remarks on craft and technique were also interesting:

Craft is very important in Swoon’s work. “I spend a lot of time looking at footage, but I have an eye for what I want. A bad film can make a great video poem – it’s in the editing.”

He’s made most of his videos with “a cheap DV camera and some cheap German editing software. I need to upgrade my equipment, but I’m worried that better equipment will make me lazy. With my old equipment, I’m forced to be a better filmmaker. I want people to be impressed with my eye, not the camera’s.”

As far as what the video shows, Swoon advises, “Videos should not just show what’s going on in the poem – as in, the poem mentions a leaf falling and sure enough, you see a leaf falling. I want something that takes more imagination.”

Be sure to read the whole thing and watch the embedded videos.

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