The Cosmic Sea of Video Poetry: A Top Ten List

The world of video poetry is a cosmic sea where seeds of poems grow in a vast fluid of cinematic possibilities. You can meet enthusiastic amateur art projects where an amazing poem is the real protagonist. You can experience works by professional directors or amazing narrators, an attractive deep voice to guide you into the mind of a world known poet or to see for first time images blossom from an unknown poem. You can be touched and even cry watching heroes of a poem come alive on the screen or be overwhelmed with awe watching a dance performance or animation inspired by poetry. The creative collaborations among directors, poets and musicians around the world establish a new art genre, video poetry, as a new way to experience poetry today.

I don’t know from where to start. From the beginning or from the end. From the past or from the present. I will choose to take a trip from future to past. I will base my top ten list in the outstanding and awarded films that captured our souls in the ten last years of the International Video Poetry Festival and I will end up with some glamsy memories from the international digital platform – both projects organized and curated by the Institute for Experimental Arts.

Let’s start!

Director & Poet: Laura R. Tolentino

Laura R. Tolentino

An amazing experimental film poem. Laura R. Tolentino created a very strong performance video poem that brings together technology, psychedelic intimate visions and ceremonial community futuristic lifestyles. The video offers strong comments about the social and environmental issues of our era with unique, extraordinary way. Premiered and awarded at the 10th International Video Poetry Festival in Athens.


Director & Poet: Inga Shepeleva

Hebeerin or The Bear Festival is an art project inspired by the world of spirits from the mythology of the Yakut people. It is a fragile celebration on the remains of a slain animal. An extraordinary atmosphere worships the forces of nature. Watching the film poem we understand that we are small, we are all children inside the palm of the universe.

Inge Shepeleva

Inga Shepeleva was born and raised in an academic town near Yakutsk, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in a family of scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying permafrost. In 2017, she produced her first cycle of videos based on her poetry work called ​Hebeerin​, dedicated to Yakut mythology. The video art cycle received awards and nominations at Russian and European video poetry and experimental film festivals, such as the video poetry festival​ ​Fifth Leg​ (Saint-Petersburg), ​The International Video Poetry​ ​Festival​ (Athens) and International Experimental Film Festival Zebra​ (Berlin).


Director: Manuel Vilarinho
Poet: Mário-Henrique Leiria (1923–1980)

Manuel Vilarinho

Mário-Henrique Leiria was a Portuguese surrealist poet. Born in Lisbon, he studied at the Escola de Belas Artes. He and his fellow surrealists were involved in an absurdist plot to overthrow the dictatorship of Antonio Salazar. The performance in this video poem is very strong. It fits perfectly with the thematic of the poem.


Director: Ian Gibbins
Poetry: Tasos Sagris
Music: Whodoes

Left: Tasos Sagris and Whodoes. Right: Ian Gibbins.

A production of the Institute for Experimental Arts, this video is a collaboration of the Greek spoken word / multi media duet Tasos Sagris & Whodoes with the Australian experimental director Ian Gibbins. Tasos Sagris’s poem, with its haunting soundtrack by Whodoes, offers us an extended exploration of lives lived in parallel worlds, at cross-purposes, in and out of love, around the world. The video, awarded and presented in more than 45 festivals around the world, invite us to observe deep inside us for a real reason to live today. But what is the reality? What is mere illusion? Can there be more to life than simply living?


Director: Allen Crawford
Poetry: Walt Witman

Allen Crawford

Illustrator Allen Crawford has turned Whitman’s poem Song of Myself into a sprawling, 256-page work of art. The densely-handwritten text and illustrations intermingle in a way that’s both surprising and wholly in tune with the spirit of the poem—exuberant, rough, and wild. “Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself” is a sensational reading experience, an artifact in its own right, and a masterful tribute to the Good Gray Poet.


Directors: Aleksandra Corovic and Alkistis Kafetzi
Poet:  Ritta Boumi-Pappa

Alkistis Kafetzi

The poem If I go out walking with my dead friends belongs to the book A Thousand Murdered Girls which was published in 1964 by the communist poet Ritta Boumi-Pappa . The book consists of 65 poems, each named after a woman who was sentenced to death for participating in the Greek Resistance against the Nazis. The film, produced by the Institute for Experimental Arts, is a humble memorial for the female heroines mentioned in Papa’s verses but also for today’s freedom fighters. It rings the bell in the consciences of people, pointing out the risk of suppression of freedom within a decaying social system. The past and the present are connected through a visualized dramaturgy of associative patterns. The human body becomes a canvas on which mankind paints its struggles and battles. Its reality is caught in confrontation between projected values and societal demands. How do society’s proceedings reflect on the individual experience?


iRONY (Australia)
Director: Radheya Jegatheva

Radheya Jegatheva. Picture: Iain Gillespie

An Oscar qualified and AACTA nominated filmmaker based in Perth, Australia and born in Johor, Malaysia to parents of South Korean, Japanese, Indian and Malaysian ancestry, the poet and filmmaker Radheya Jegatheva inspects a wide range of elements through a critical lens and bring awareness to terrible issues such as cyberbullying and teen suicide. The animated video poem causes discussion or at least contemplation about these issues in a creative way, and make people reconsider the overconsumption of social media or the ways in which it can be harmful.


Director: mmmmmfilms

Montenegro & Fisher – Courtship

mmmmmfilms is a collaboration between Adrian Fisher, Luna Montenegro and Gines Olivares. Since 2003 they have been making art films that show in festivals, biennials and galleries in Europe and Latin America. The Multispecies Offline is an intelligent video poetry that combines performance and spoken word and cinematic video poetry. Exploring different modalities of social media, theatre, film noir, photography and overlay ‘multispecies offline’ is a film that considers our relations with the human and the non-human.


Director: Lika Nadir

Lika Nadir

Our life balances between internal freedom and belonging to others. The inner measure of truth never lies, like the human body. Try to live your life so as to penetrate through it the truth for those who will come to this world after you. Lika Nadir was born in the Crimea. At the age of 14, she began writing: short scripts and stories. An art historian by training. In 2019 she got accepted to the Moscow School of New Cinema (workshop of Dmitry Mamulia). In her works Lika raises social themes, and also seeks the aesthetics of naturalness and realistic existence of actors. Notable works: video for La Priest, collaboration with L’Officiel Russia.


Filmmaker: Marie Craven
Poetry: Kelli Russell Agodon

Left: Kelli Russell Agodon. Right: Marie Craven.

A film poem that is outstanding in content and form, in lyrics and photography, in atmosphere and meaning. The poem is strong and the voice over grabs your attention from the first moment.




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