~ Filmmaker: Alastair Cook ~

Leper Window, St Mary the Virgin by Jane McKie

Alastair Cook’s 18th filmpoem incorporates a text by Scottish poet Jane McKie which “won the inaugural Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition in 2011 and was praised by the judges as ‘spare, musical and wonderfully imagined,'” Alastair tells us. Luca Nasciuti was the composer.

Visiting the Dunbrody Famine Ship by Elizabeth Rimmer

This is Alastair Cook’s 17th filmpoem, and bears the title of the collection of poetry whence the poem comes: Wherever We Live Now, by British poet Elizabeth Rimmer. Alastair writes,

This film came while I was concentrating on two other films, which will be part of my solo film, photography and glass show How the Land Lies in Edinburgh this spring.

This is also a farewell to Kodak, of sorts, as there’ll never really be a goodbye embrace- entirely made from Kodachrome Super8, wildly out of date. And a homage to my solace, Portobello.

Thanks to Erstlaub for the sound design, a drone star.

14th Avenue Tshwane (née Pretoria) by Gérard Rudolf

Alastair Cook‘s 16th filmpoem is also his third collaboration with South African poet and actor Gérard Rudolf. Alastair writes,

14th Avenue Tshwane (née Pretoria) is a poem by Gérard Rudolf from his collection Orphaned Latitudes. It is my first work of 2012 and illustrates the year’s intent: it is made from tangible film, not digital recordings, and 2012 is the year of using the digital to edit the analogue. I cannot edit without digital, I cannot make film without analogue. The year of Rollei, Bolex and Collodion. See you soon and Happy New Year!

This film contains Standard 8, Super 8, 16mm and miniDV, edited digitally.

The text of the poem appears on the publisher’s page for Orphaned Latitudes.

Slow Wave Through The City by Jacq Kelly

The latest filmpoem from Alastair Cook, who describes it on Vimeo as follows:

Slow Wave Through The City is a poem by Jacq Kelly, published by Colin Herd this year. It crossed my path digitally and I watched the film in my head as I read, my adopted city of Edinburgh speeding by.

Jacq lives in Edinburgh but dreams of moving to Sweden and becoming a viking. Until this happens, she spends her time writing poetry, fiction and trying to make a difference in politics as a campaigner.

Slow Wave Through the City was filmed in Edinburgh on 8mm film in Summer 2011 on a long walk with the poet; it was shot using Ektachrome Super8, processed in Kansas by Dwaynes.

By way of a coda, this is a first, a Scottish Filmpoem. Looking through all 15 films, this is the only one which has only Scots contributors for the film, narrative and music. This was not deliberate, but is fitting, since it’s devoted to Edinburgh.

Philosophy by Jo Bell

Alastair Cook came out of a six-month filmpoem hiatus ten days ago with this new film for a piece by the English poet and poetry promoter Jo Bell. Quoting Alastair’s description on Vimeo:

It’s been swirling around my head all summer, while baby Rose has been born and grown; Philosophy is a joy, bright and full of life, bursting.

It has been long in gestation but it has been a real pleasure to make this one; the entire film was shot on Ektachrome Super 8 and processed at Dwaynes in Kansas, whose praises I cannot sing high enough.

And it has also been a pleasure to be able to include Vladimir Kryutchev’s incredible sound work again. His site at oontz is a wonder for binaural loving sound folks.

This one’s for my boy, Charlie.

Jo Bell blogged about the new videopoem here.

The Forty Elephants (with poetry by Gérard Rudolf)

A new film by Alastair Cook “developed around a narrative commissioned by Alastair, written and read by Gérard Rudolf,” with cinematography by James Norton.

The project takes its lead from the Victorian street gang, of women and their children, who plagued the Elephant and Castle; it draws in the current landscape and it’s deteriorating edge, a farewell to the Heygate and Aylesbury estates; this is a dark trawl through threat and desire, driven by Gérard’s incredible words.

The Forty Elephants premiered on 8th April at Alastair’s fine art photography show at The Howden.

Prodigal by Kona Macphee

Alastair Cook‘s 11th filmpoem. His description at Vimeo is worth quoting in full:

Prodigal is a film of Kona Macphee‘s poem, which was born from Andrew Philip’s project for the second Hidden Door festival, held in Edinburgh in October 2010: I was asked to record a reading of the poem. As I read it, I felt its power and resolved to make a filmpoem. I commissioned a cello piece from Rebecca Rowe and we performed this live at the Poetry Association of Scotland‘s meeting on 9th March 2011, at the Scottish poetry Library. A new direction for these perhaps, the addition of live performance… but the work is as dark and mercurial as ever.

Condition of Fire: seven poems by JL Williams

Condition of Fire is the debut collection from JL Williams, published by Shearsman. The author’s reading of seven poems from the book is combined with a commissioned sound work by Luca Nasciuti in this new filmpoem by Alastair Cook.

Abachan by Alastair Cook

I’ve featured a number of Alastair Cook‘s filmpoems for other poets’ work, but this is the first one he’s made for a poem of his own. It’s due to premiere at a Geopoetics conference on March 27th at John Ruskin’s house, Brentwood, in the Lake District.

Today also we bring you the full text of Alastair’s think-piece on the poetry-film genre, “The Filming of Poetry.” Please go read and add your own thoughts. This first appeared in paper form at Anon Seven last summer. Thanks to Alastair for letting me repost it.

Naming by Scott Edward Anderson

A new filmpoem by Scottish artist Alastair Cook for a piece by the American poet Scott Edward Anderson. Alastair notes, “Naming was premiered at The Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Edinburgh in January 2011; it was shot entirely on Kodachrome Super8 in 2010 and contains no post production, after effects or erstwhile digital trickery.”

MacAdam Takes to the Sea by Andrew Philip

A masterful filmpoem by Alastair Cook — be sure to expand it to full-screen size. Check out Andrew Philip’s website. In an accompanying note on Vimeo, Cook indicates that the film was commissioned for the Hidden Door festival in Edinburgh, where it premiered last month.

-ed by Mairi Sharratt

Scottish artist and filmmaker Alastair Cook’s latest filmpoem (and in my opinion his best to date). Here’s what he says about it at Vimeo:

-ed is my film of a poem by Mairi Sharratt, from her as yet unpublished (nudge) collection This is a Poem. You can read more of Mairi’s work on her excellent blog, alumpinthethroat.wordpress.com.

It took a long time for me to begin this filmpoem for two reasons: I have been busy with this summer’s solo film and photography show as part of the Edinburgh Festival; also the poem is dark and yet meditative, lifting to a powerful crescendo and as a result I felt that I needed to introduce a figurative element. So I ruminated…

Mairi says in a blog post that the film will be screened at Edingbugh’s Hidden Door Festival, which runs from October 22-24.