Drumshanbo 2023: A brief report

The second Drumshanbo Written Word Poetry Film Competition was a great success with nearly a hundred entries from sixteen countries. This was up 15% on last year. We shortlisted down to 16 films, after a rigorous review process. This included five Irish films and films from the UK, Germany, US, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands. Films were of a very high production quality, varying in theme from the wr in Ukraine to women’s rights in Iran, mental health, and familial tenderness.

An audience of fifty or more arrived at the Mayflower Ballroom Drumshanbo on Friday 26th August, despite the cool weather, to watch and appreciate the magical intertwining of language and light. The feedback from the audience was fantastic, especially when I interviewed two film makers on stage. The up-and-coming poet Liz Houchin, recently in residency at the Scottish Poetry Library, told us how, when she had a little grant money left over she decided to ask poet and filmmaker Luke Morgan to create something out of one of her favourite poems, “If my mother had a retrospective at the V&A” (see below). Have fun, she told them, and by God they did, creating a virtual exhibition space on screen where her mother’s knitting and sewing enterprises were playfully laid out for all to see. A surreal experience, where the ordinary is catapulted onto the halls of one of the great museums, in so doing exploding the whole idea of the ordinary. Made, Liz said, for all the quiet needle workers in the homes of Ireland.

We also talked to the very talented Grace Wells from County Clare. Grace has been making poetry films for many years out of her own poems. Mostly with an ecological slant, advocating for nature and the environment. Grass was a beautifully filmed eco-poetryfilm where the narrator addresses that most important of natures flora as it meanders through its seasons. All in all a great night. Roll on next year. You can view the shortlisted films on YouTube.

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