~ Nationality: Finland ~

Those Drawn Alive by Jukka-Pekka Jalovaara

An author-made filmpoem by Jukka-Pekka Jalovaara, inspired by the archetypal Spaghetti Western villain Lee Van Clef. The description on its ZEBRA website page reads:

Every autumn I get heavily moody. This is caused by the loss of the light. Last summer I heard from the radio a tune called “The House of the Rising Sun”. At once I was on a wintery road, with a very low light – and having an impossible opponent against me – Lee Van Cleef.

Jukka-Pekka Jalovaara
born 1965 in Kuopio, Finland, attended the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and studied scenography and architecture. His work focuses mainly on drawing, photography and experimental motion pictures and has been shown in Finland and abroad.

The evocative soundtrack is by Samuli Kristian Saastamoinen.

When spring slams birds on trees by Tuija Välipakka

Finnish poet Tuija Välipakka‘s words, translated by Pirjo Raila, appear as text on screen in this film by Tuija’s daughter Mikaela Välipakka. (There’s also a version in Swedish, I assume the original poem: När våren slungar fåglarna i träden.) The music is by Eemeli Sutalainen. The description at Vimeo reads:

Life is an endless stream where birth and death aren’t static. We exist before our birth and we live as long as even one remembers us.

Death is IN! by Tuija Välipakka

Mikaela Välipakka directed this marvelous videopoem with cinematography and editing by Arttu Soilumo. The poem by Tuija Välipakka is from her 2014 collection Take Away (Paasilinna Publishing). Tuija and and her daughter Mikaela have co-authored a post at Atticus Review, where they describe the film as “the result of cooperation between two movie enthusiasts and a poet.”

Mikaela Välipakka and Arttu Soilumo wanted to create a poem film that is simultaneously dark and surrealistic, surprising and thought-provoking. The starting point was Mikaela’s vision of an empty movie theatre with a man sitting on the middle of the row. Man’s dreams start to stray around him, first slowly and eventually aggressively, trying to wake him up. The poem itself explores the absurdity and randomness of death.

The post continues with a quote from Mikaela Välipakka about her approach to filmmaking:

I start with a certain feeling and after that, scenes start to form in my head. I write them down and shoot these scenes one by one. I usually don’t make storyboards or any other plans, I go by intuition. On the set I get inspired by my model and model gets inspired by me. This creates something magical that can not be planned. Music is also really important to me. I love listening to classical music such as Mozart, Verdi and Gorécki. I put on headphones, close my eyes and my imagination starts to immediately fly. This is something I have been doing since I was a little girl, creating surrealistic and beautiful scenes in my head that I later implement them into ink drawings and short films.

Click through to read their biographies, and be sure to follow Atticus Review‘s Mixed Media section in your favorite feed reader for a steady stream of great poetry films.

Yhä hiljalleen hämärtyvässä maailmassa (In a world still slowly dimming) by Saila Susiluoto

This recent videopeom by Swoon (Marc Neys) uses a text and reading from the fantastic online audiopoetry site Lyrikline.org by Finnish poet Saila Susiluoto. A little background from Swoon’s blog:

This summer I’m invited to the The Annikki Poetry Festival in Tampere (Finland)
Really looking forward to that. Giving a workshop and having a talk with JP Sipilä about videopoetry.

One of the poets performing at the festival is Saila Susiluoto and I found a gourgeous poem by her on Lyrikline to work with.

Click through to read the text in Finnish and in English translation (by Pirkko Talvio-Jaatinen and Saila Susiluoto), as well as few process notes.

Vuosirengas / Tree Ring — poems by Katri Vala

Another one of my personal favorites from the 2014 ZEBRA competition screenings, this poetry film was directed, filmed and animated by Maria Björklund. All the photography was done in a park in Helsinki named for a poet who used to live nearby, Katri Vala (1901-1944), and excerpts from several of her poems are included in the soundtrack. “The filming took place once a week through the year” (2009), according to the credits. Here’s the description at Vimeo:

A film by Maria Björklund (2012)

Script: Maria Björklund, Antti Mäki, Maria Palavamäki
Editing: Maria Palavamäki
Sound design and music: Antti Mäki

The infamous Katri Vala Park in Sörnäinen, Helsinki is a meeting place for urban nature and poetry in this experimental animated documentary.

The film was produced by Animaatiokopla.

The poetry was translated by Annira Silver and read by Kimberli Mäkäräinen. There’s also a version of the film in Finnish.

Silent Scene by J.P. Sipilä

Themes of alienation and belonging percolate through this experimental videopoem by the Finnish artist and poet J.P. Sipilä. The music is by Machifabriek and Samuli Sailo, and Roomet Jakapi contributed what Sipilä calls sound poems.

This is a featured video at London Poetry Systems, where Henry Stead wrote: “The balance and subtlety of the non-verbal’s relationship with the verbal is extremely powerful — a truly cross-media palette in the hands of a fine artist.” On his website, Sipilä observes: “In poetry there’s something left unsaid. In music there’s something left unheard. In film there’s something left unseen.”

The lyricline.org blog posted “Poetry & Film: statement by J.P. Sipilä” last year, which is worth quoting for additional context here:

What I do is videopoetry. It has a somewhat different approach to film and poetry than poetry film. I see poetry films as visual and kinetic illustrations of certain poems. But as far as videopoetry is concerned, video and sound are not mere reflections of certain poems, but a puzzle or juxtaposition of the three elements (video, sound and text). As videopoet Tom Konyves says: “Videopoetry is a genre of poetry displayed on a screen, distinguished by its time-based, poetic juxtaposition of text with images and sound. In the measured blending of these 3 elements, it produces in the viewer the realization of a poetic experience.”

A good videopoem creates a new overall poetic experience from the three elements used. For me the video is the paper and screen is the mouth of my poetry.

Sound and visual aspects have always had a huge effect on my poetry. I usually read poetry while listening music and when I see a piece of art I somehow automatically start thinking a story or a feeling behind it. Using video as a medium for my poetry was a step that was just waiting to be taken.

you knew this by J.P. Sipilä


A short piece by J.P. Sipilä, a young Finnish poet with an impressive command of filmmaking techniques.