The Gone Missing by Joseph Aversano (Pete Johnston)

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

A Super 8-style film by Pete Johnston, one of two films by him that we selected for the festival. Pete Johnston teaches and makes film at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. He co-founded the FILMETRY online festival of poetry and film with Cindy Hunter Morgan.

He told us: “Aversano’s piece, the shortest of the bunch, obviously evokes a lot for so many people, hence why it was adapted so many times! I was no different and got to use some old footage and create some new footage to go with it. I’m fascinated to get to see all the versions and it highlights what makes cinepoetry or filmetry a favorite mode of mine, the way cinema can interpret and reinterpret poetry in unique ways artist to artist.”

Judges’ statement: “We liked the balance between playful fun and melancholy that the two scenes create. It all worked together to create a lovely sense of real people that we could actually know and their journeys away from each other. We also appreciated the treatment of the text on screen, which really helped us make sense of the haibun.”

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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