The Gone Missing by Joseph Aversano (Janet Lees)

Selected for the 2023 Haiku North America Haibun Film Festival. Browse the other selections.

Janet Lees is a lens-based artist and poet. Her films have been selected for many festivals and screenings, including the Aesthetica Art Prize, the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival, and Festival Fotogenia. In 2021 she won the Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film competition. Her art photography has been exhibited around the world and her poetry is widely published and anthologised. She has had two books published: House of Water, a collection of her poems and art photographs, and A bag of sky, the winning collection in the Frosted Fire Firsts prize hosted by the UK’s Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

Director’s statement: I use the camera as a storytelling machine rather than a documenting device. I think film, photography and poetry are among the most important means of creative expression in the Anthropocene. Joseph Aversano’s intriguing haibun ‘The Gone Missing’ seems to me to encapsulate so much of the nature of humanness and life in these times; a sense of living on a knife edge of destructive compulsions. As a photographer and filmmaker I am drawn to damaged, dangerous places, so this piece absolutely struck a chord.

Judges’ statement: We loved the framing, the camera angle, the flickering filtered sunlight and the soundtrack, and admired the build-up to the closing shot, which somehow fully expresses Aversano’s enigmatic haiku.

Joseph Salvatore Aversano is a native New Yorker currently living on the Central Anatolian steppe with his wife Asu. His poems have been published in numerous journals and some have been awarded or anthologized. He is the founding curator of Half Day Moon Press and editor of Half Day Moon Journal. We chose five different films that used his haibun, “The Gone Missing,” intrigued that so many filmmakers chose to work with it, and eager to show the variety of approaches that poetry filmmakers can take.

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