~ Belgium ~

Swoon Films 11 Flemish Poets

[press release — feel free to reproduce in whole or in part]

How to make a film based on 11 Dutch-language poems? A fair question. Video artist Swoon has made the poetry short ‘Circle’, in which poems by Leonard Nolens, Stefan Hertmans, Delphine Lecompte, Charles Ducal, Michaël Vandebril, Lies Van Gasse, Xavier Roelens, Jan Lauwereyns, Marleen de Crée, Stijn Vranken and Yannick Dangre tell the story of someone’s life. The poems were recorded by three well-known Flemish actors: Vic De Wachter, Michaël Pas and Karlijn Sileghem.

An extended trailer can be seen on Vimeo.

The Flemish poetry film will premiere on Sunday 10 March at the Scottish international poetry festival StAnza. With this international presentation in mind, all poems were translated by professional poetry translator Willem Groenewegen.

The Belgian premiere will be held on 13 June at the Felix Poetry Festival in Antwerp.

‘Circle’ is a Vonk & Zonen production and was realised with the support of the Flemish Literature Fund and the City of Antwerp. Vonk & Zonen is a new literary organisation focusing on new ways to showcase literature. Recent projects include the ‘Lonely Funeral’ programme, ‘NewsPoem’ in the De Morgen newspaper and the ‘Working Title’ evenings. The poetry film ‘Circle’ is an excellent way to familiarise a wider audience with poetry in an innovative and accessible way.

Swoon (a.k.a. Marc Neys, *1968) has more than 90 videopoems to his name, based on texts by, amongst others, Bernard Dewulf, Johan de Boose, Michaël Vandebril and Jan Lauwereyns. His videopoems were shown at a lot of international festivals, such as those in Berlin (ZEBRA), Vancouver (Visible Verse) and New York (International Literary Filmfestival). This year, Swoon has been asked to co-curate the first Filmpoem Festival (2-4/8/13, Dunbar, Scotland) alongside Alastair Cook, Luca Nasciuti and Dave Bonta.

Editor’s note: We will share the full-length film on Moving Poems as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer (and attend StAnza or the Felix Poetry Festival if you can). See also Swoon’s post mortem of last year’s Felix Poetry Festival here at the forum.

Antwerp poetry festival features videopoems

Last week, the Felix Poetry Festival in Antwerp, Belgium, organized by Michaël Vandebril, included a feature on videopoetry, with filmmakers Alastair Cook and Swoon Bildos (Marc Neys) as invited participants. It garnered some good press in De Standard newspaper, including a mention of Moving Poems! Marc also sent along this report on the proceeedings. —Dave B.

I didn’t attend the first day. Alastair was just arrived and we were both a bit tired. (Day one was about Belgian Poetry, including a discussion of whether there’s actually such a thing as Belgian poetry, being a bilingual country.) So for starters, here’s a small video-impression I made of the second day of the festival:


This is an impression of the second evening, the international evening with poets. Jan Lauwereyns is from Belgium, but lives in Japan. He did a poem with a simultaneous Japanese translation and later he also translated a small part of a Ron Silliman poem into ‘Aantwaareps’, our local dialect. Ron Silliman was there, Will Stone, Chus Pato (Spanish), and Emilian Gaaicu-Paun (Romanian), who was translated into Dutch by Jan H. Mysjkin.

Leonard Nolens was also there (and on the video). He’s more or less the greatest living poet in Belgium. You could hear a pin drop during his reading. We also had Ronelda S. Kamfer, but I didn’t get to shoot footage of her — a shame, because she was very good.

Alastair and I had a short talk about videopoetry and showed some of our work. Alastair showed two of his ‘Absent Voices’ project:

and an older one:

I showed:


After that, we both showed our commisioned work for a Bernard Dewulf poem (Bernard is ‘City-Poet’ of Antwerp this year), ‘Aan Het Water.’ (See the main site to watch the two films. —Dave)

In the afternoon of that same day, Alastair and I — it was the first time we actually met — had a 90 minute lecture about filmpoems and videopoems. No images from that, but we each showed 10 of our videos and films and talked about our working process and projects. (That’s why there was that interview in the paper, BTW. It’s one of our leading and most respected papers.)

So, there you go: a good festival and a good chance for video- or film-poetry to ‘get out there’.