Extermination by Donna Vorreyer

This should be played in HD on the largest screen available.

Rarely a week goes by when I don’t post another video by the Belgian filmmaker Swoon, A.K.A. Marc Neys, but even still I barely keep up with all he’s doing. What’s even more surprising is that despite his great rate of production his poetry films continue to feel fresh, and he doesn’t cut corners in their production, sitting on each project for at least a couple of weeks before releasing it. This film is a case in point. It was already almost in the can (Do filmmakers still say that?) when I visited him back in early July, but he continued to sit with it for another month before releasing it. And he’s taking plenty of risks here. This represents, I think, his most ambitious attempt yet to develop text-on-screen as a compelling alternative to the tried-and-true voiceover approach.

Marc blogged his process notes. Some snippets:

Another episode in my explorations in combining film compositions with text on screen (see my other efforts)
This time it was a poem by Donna Vorreyer I used.
It’s not the first time I work with Donna’s words. She’s a fantastic poet with a very inspiring choice of words. Her work is perfect for these kind of works.

I picked out ‘Extermination’ from her collection ‘a house of many windows’, Sundress Publications, 2013.


Once I was sure this was going to be the poem I started searching for, filming and selecting suitable visuals. When I had about 10 minutes of material I created a soundscape with the visuals and the poem in mind:


Then came the puzzling part. Matching lines from the poem with the right footage, trying out different fonts ans sizes, placement of words… It’s a completely different way of editing.
You’re not only editing film, you’re carefully trying to blend sound, image and text in one cut. It feels more like composing.  It makes me rethink the way I worked (and still work) with audible videopoems.

Click through for the text of the poem and the audio file from SoundCloud. Donna Vorreyer may be found at her website, or more often at her blog.

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