“Östersjöar – A Poem by Tomas Tranströmer” available at Vimeo On Demand


This is the trailer for Östersjöar (The Baltic Sea), a 31-minute film based on a long poem by Tomas Tranströmer (translated as “Baltics” by Robin Fulton). Directed by James Wine with score, performance and sound design by Charlie Wine, it’s a re-make of a 1993 film broadcast on Swedish television in 1994, for which there are a bunch of glowing burbs on the Longwalks Productions website, including one by former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove: “What a marvelous piece! The production is fabulous — it almost manages to bring the smell of the sea into the living room.”

The version in Swedish with English subtitling is now available through Vimeo On Demand at USD $5.00 for 48-hour streaming or $10 for download or streaming any time. The description promises “more languages to follow soon.”

This isn’t the first poetry film to be sold through online streaming or download. James Franco’s Howl, for example, is available through Amazon Instant Video and Hulu, and I’ve heard of publishers experimenting with paid apps for shorter poetry videos. But I’d be willing to bet that this is the first poetry film for sale at Vimeo On Demand. The price strikes me as reasonable, but then I’m a huge Tranströmer fan — I’d probably buy it no matter what they charged. I’ll be interested to see if other poetry-film production companies follow Longwalks’ lead. Vimeo On Demand features include a 90/10 revenue split, availability in HD on all devices including mobile, and the ability to sell work at any price and from any location. It does, however, require the purchase of a Vimeo PRO membership ($200/year). Ordinary Plus members can only collect money through a tip jar, which is only visible on Vimeo, not on embeds.

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    […] may remember my post from late December about the 31-minute poetry film based on a long poem by the great Tomas Tranströmer that’s […]

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