~ Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival ~

Alphonso’s Jaw by Sarahjane Swan and Roger Simian

Recently I became part of an international collective of artists called Agitate:21C. In its short existence, it has attracted about 300 outstanding experimental, avant-garde, and generally ‘other’ artists from around the world, including film-makers, poets, curators, critics, lovers of the arts, and just about any kind of alternative creator, focused on any medium, genre, style or form.

Originally part of a larger art installation created for Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Alphonso’s Jaw was the first poetry film I found via A21C. It is written and directed by Scottish artists Sarahjane Swan and Roger Simian, also known as Avant Kinema. Sarahjane appears in the film and voices the piece in English and French. I find it virtuosic in its fusing of word, soundscape and image, as well as deeply moving in its meditation on the timeless horrors of war in the lives of individuals.

This is an excerpt from what the artists have to say on the film’s page at Vimeo:

The installation, and our subsequent short film, were inspired by our fascination for two objects we discovered amongst Edinburgh University’s Anatomy Collection: (1) the cast of a disfigured face; (2) a prosthetic jaw constructed on an early nineteenth century battlefield.

Through some research we unearthed the story of Alphonse Luis, a young French gunner struck by shrapnel at the Siege of Antwerp, 1832. Having suffered horrific facial injuries, losing his lower face, Alphonse’s quality of life was eventually improved when the Surgeon-Major and a local Belgian artist collaborated on the construction of a silver prosthetic jaw, painted in flesh tones and adorned with whiskers.

We uncovered historical accounts of Alphonse Luis’ injury, surgery, recuperation and rehabilitation in medical journals of the day, and drew on these for an exploration of identity, disfigurement and reconstruction.

In Alphonso’s Jaw we imagine that Alphonse Luis has become dislocated from history to exist outside of any specific time or place, trapped in eternal convalescence, soothed by the dreams of his Battlefield Muse, who is equal parts Night Nurse, Scheherazade and Beauty from Beauty and the Beast. Luis’ Battlefield Muse is, in turn, both horrified and fascinated by her patient.

The poem, titled “Beauty and the Silver Mask,” can be read at Avant Kinema’s blog, in both its full English version and the short fragment of it spoken in French, which was translated by Raymond Meyer.

April poetry film events in the UK, Germany, Quebec and Greece

Back on March 7, I posted a list of poetry-film screenings and festivals for the spring in which I lamented the apparent lack of events in April. Since then, I’ve learned about quite a few, thanks to web and Facebook postings from Zata Banks (nee Kitowski), Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel, and Helen Dewbery.

11 April in Swindon, UK

Poetry Film Workshop with Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery. According to the Facebook event page, there were only eight places available as of March 22, so don’t delay if you’re interested in signing up.

The objective is for participants to create a poetry film.
Part One: Short introduction on the history of film poetry with examples.
Part Two: Exercises using sound, words and images.
Part Three: Creating a film poem using newly created poetry and images.
Equipment: participants bring their own laptop, camera/phone if they have them.
With permission, and if suitable, the films will be shown at this year’s Poetry Swindon Festival in the Central Library on National Poetry Day (1st October 2015)

17 April in Hawick, Scotland

TRANSMUTATIONS programme at Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival.

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival and Zata Kitowski from PoetryFilm have co-curated this special screening, mixing films from our open submissions with classics of the genre. It features a diverse selection of film artworks, chosen for their alignment with poetry, with poetic structures, with poetic experiences, and with the visual, verbal and aural languages of poetry in various forms. The 45 minute screening will be followed by a 15 minute Q&A with some of the filmmakers, including Richard Bailey (USA) and Sean Martin (UK).

20-24 April in Münster

Poetry Film – Seminar mit Daniel Huhn & Julian Isfort. It’s great to see these workshops cropping up. This one, sponsored by Filmwerkstatt Münster, sounds very intensive, a five-day-long seminar with basic filmmaking knowledge recommended for participants.

22 April in Münster

Best of ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival 2014: HEIMATKLÄNGE. The first of three events presented by Filmwerkstatt Münster in the Palace Theatre, each consisting of two, 45-minute screenings on a given theme, compiled and moderated by the ZEBRA program director Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel. (The others are on 29 April—see below—and May 6.) The description for the first one reads:

Der deutschsprachige Raum ist bekannt für seine mannigfaltige Dichtkunst. Konkrete, Digitale und Lautpoesie, Naturlyrik oder Lieder beweisen: Die Varianten sind schier unbegrenzt.

23 April – 5 July in Montreal

Carrefour Vidéo-poétique. A very cool-sounding video installation featuring videopoems from Québec and the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival.

The Goethe-Institut and Vidéographe are pleased to collaborate on Carrefour vidéo-poétique, a video installation presented in the windows of the Goethe-Institut from April 23 to July 5, every evening from sunset to midnight.

This presentation of video-poems aims to offer a fresh perspective and a new way of hearing contemporary poetry, in addition to innovating on how it’s disseminated: Video becomes a new means of spreading the word, thereby making poetry accessible to the general public.

24-26 April in Athens

PoetryFilm programme on body and gender identity at sound acts.

sound acts will be the first such event in Greece, introducing the athenian audience to work not frequently seen and hopefully opening a dialogue about gender and identity politics within sound production.

25-26 in Wenlock, UK
PoetryFilm at the Wenlock Poetry Festival

For the Wenlock Poetry Festival, PoetryFilm is contributing a curated programme of ten short poetry films, which will be played on a loop at The Edge cinema venue. A real festival first!

29 April in Münster

Best of ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival 2014: TANZREIME.

Tanz und Musik schwingen im Dreiklang mit der Lyrik. Moderne Rhythmen interpretieren bekannte Gedichte, ausdrucksstarke Tänze und Performances vermitteln uns die geballte Kraft der Sprache.

Upcoming PoetryFilm screenings in Scotland and Greece

In last week’s round-up of poetry film and videopoetry screenings planned for this spring, I lamented that there didn’t seem to be anything on the calendar for April yet. Fortunately that’s no longer the case. Zata Kitowski has announced two screenings on tap for next month, and each sounds very interesting: Transmutations: PoetryFilm / Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival, 16-19 April 2015; and PoetryFilm in Athens, 24-26 April 2015. The former will feature

a diverse selection of film artworks, chosen for their alignment with poetry, with poetic structures, with poetic experiences, and with the visual, verbal and aural languages of poetry in various forms. The 45 minute screening will be followed by a 15 minute Q&A with some of the filmmakers, including Richard Bailey (USA) and Sean Martin (UK).

The Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival will take place 16-19 April 2015 in Hawick, Scotland, UK.

Click through to the PoetryFilm post for a very complete description of the program.

As for the Athens screening,

PoetryFilm will be contributing a special programme of poetry films focusing on the body and gender/identity to the sound acts event in Athens in April 2015.

Visit the sound acts website for more about this unique-sounding festival.