~ Filmmaker: Heather Haley ~

Whore in the Eddy by Heather Haley

A new videopoem by Heather Haley, and her first produced in full collaboration with her son, Lucas Raycevick, as editor. Here’s the description at Vimeo:

Fierce, full of stiletto irony, verve–yet rife with sensitivity–“Whore In The Eddy’ explores a winding road of twisted fates. “There but for the grace of God go I.” Two women, one forsaken, the other spared. Two tales told though images of a lush, denuded forest littered with fallen giants, cut short like the lives of so many women.

Heather also blogged about the making of the film in some detail. An excerpt:

I tried to find found footage but matching it with ours didn’t work as my 17-year old son/editor pointed out. He’s been helping me on videopoems since age eight, but this is our first real collaboration, a challenge in and of itself but mostly highly gratifying. He kicks my butt! Will not allow shots that are too shaky or out of focus. So funny. I said, hey, I’m not trying to be Steven Spielberg. I will make choices you wouldn’t. We argue for a bit and he wins. ‘Cause he’s right. We have standards. That’s my boy. He amazes me; taught himself to edit video at age ten, began producing machinimas and has had his own YouTube channel since. He’s got a lovely podcasting set-up going too which he allows me to use sometimes. We’ve developed a system in the house so he remains undisturbed while recording. He places a funky beaded necklace—a souvenir of Hawaii—on the door handle. I’m so lucky, he’s a great kid and he works cheap; the third major challenge, a zero budget. (I’ve spent fifty bucks on a dress and seven bucks on flowers.) We barter. I copy edit his fan fiction in return for video editing services.

Tom Konyves on the making of a videopoetry manifesto



Tom’s presentation at Visible Verse Festival 2011, held at the Cinémathèque Pacifique in Vancouver, November 4-5, 2011. Do set aside half an hour to watch this.

We’re living at an amazing point in time as far as this particular genre [videopoetry] is concerned. It is so new. It can make you feel like you’re living in the 1920s, when the great art revolutions were taking place.

As many regular visitors to this site are probably aware, Tom Konyves coined the term “videopoetry” back in the 1970s and has played a strong role in shaping its conception, at least among avant-garde poets. It’s not necessary to have first read his new videopoetry manifesto, but this certainly helps to introduce and contextualize it.

You don’t have to be an avant-garde poet to appreciate Tom’s points about, for example, the subversion of narrative expectations or the importance of poetic juxtaposition in a videopoem. But what’s especially appealing about this talk to me is what it reveals about Tom’s careful and methodical thought process, his essential generosity and his openness to opinions contrary to his own — qualities not normally associated with authors of manifestos, as he acknowledges:

In writing a manifesto, you tend to be very polemic, you tend to say that this is the only way to look at works, but I came across this quote from genre theorist Richard Cole, who wrote: “The phrase ‘tyranny of genre’ is normally taken to signify how generic structures constrain individual creativity. If genre functions as a taxonomic classification system, it could constrain individual creativity.” So I was concerned about that, that what I had to say about videopoetry may have that kind of effect.

Watch the talk, and then check out the manifesto on Issuu. Also, the earlier Poem Film Manifesto by Ian Cottage, which Tom mentions around 12:50 in Part 1 above, may be read at Cottage’s blog.

How to Remain by Heather Haley

Heather Haley wrote and directed this entertaining film about a very serious subject. Here’s her gloss from the video description on YouTube:

The audience is along for a wild ride in AURAL Heather’s “How To Remain” with a compulsive protagonist resolutely heading toward an elusive goal of perfection, perpetually struggling to stay *on* and, or to stay thin. *How to remain in control* is at the heart of anorexia and bulimia. Ubiquitous images of the ideal woman provide pressure and anxiety for us all. She turns to her trusty steed but instead of her body disintegrating, the horse’s body withers away. A symbol of intense desire and instinct, the horse’s ribs start to protrude as it becomes increasingly emaciated until finally disappearing with a *POOF! * Though eating disorders are a serious matter, the story is really about facing our all-too-human mortality. REMAIN is the key word and our secret desire, fueling our heroine’s quest for eternal youth and beauty, i.e., immortality. She is in a race. A horse race. A rat race? Or a labyrinth. Reel time accelerates as it does in real life; time seemingly flying by with advancing years as we move toward our inevitable departure. Of course HOW we live is what really matters.

Purple Lipstick by Heather Haley

A poem about domestic violence, on YouTube courtesy of a magazine called Shattered Thought which appears to be no longer online. Heather Haley, however, is very much still online — in fact, the annual videopoetry festival she organizes in Vancouver, Visible Verse, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on November 19-20. This is the premiere videopoetry event in North America. Go if you can.

The Videopoems page of her personal website says about this film, in part:

Heather’s videopoem Purple Lipstick still garners kudos having been an official selection at the VideoBardo 2nd International VideoPoetry Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the 3rd Zebra International Poetry Film Festival in Berlin, Germany and the Women in Film Festival in Vancouver where she was a guest speaker. Purple Lipstick also screened at Commfest, Wildsound, Female Eye in Toronto, Northwest Projections and Reel to Real in Seattle.

Purple is the colour of a fresh bruise and domestic violence the single greatest cause of injury to women in Canada. Purple Lipstick confronts its insidious nature through compelling juxtapositions. A disembodied female voice employs vivid language, absurdist against a backdrop of banality, images of *normal* family life. Numb in her isolation and still in her nurse’s uniform, a wife and mother prepares dinner. The inherent terror of her home life is invoked with excruciating tension. Its brutality can only be alluded to.

Shot on Bowen Island near Vancouver, Purple Lipstick features actors Bazil Graham, Ripley Ferguson, Cairo Ferguson and slam poetry star Alexandra Oliver-Basekic.