~ Cinema Poetica ~

Poetry film festival news round-up

Current open calls for submission

Some upcoming deadlines:

Winners announced for VI CYCLOP International Poetry Film Festival

An email newsletter on Tuesday shared the results of the just-concluded festival in Kyiv, Ukraine:

Breaking News! ⚡

Yesterday, November 26, at the closure of the VI CYCLOP Videopoetry Festival at Port Creative Hub, the winners of the CYCLOP Videopoetry Contests were announced and summed up.

Time to announce winners!

🏅  Nomination «Debut» | Ukrainian program
Oleksandra Proms’ka «When the sun has long gone …» (Rivne)

🏅  Nomination «Experiment» | Ukrainian program
Eugene Umanov «A rubber little ball» (Mykolayiv)

🏆  Audience Award | International program
Radheya Jegatheva «iRony» (Australia)

🏆  Audience Award | Ukrainian program
Eugene Vorozheykin «Lonely Man» (Kyiv)

🥉  3rd place | Ukrainian program
Arsen Podosyan «It’s worth it?» (Odesa)

🥈  2nd place | Ukrainian program
Eugene Vorozheykin «Lonely Man» (Kyiv)

🥇  1st place | Ukrainian program
Olha Fraze-Frazenko «The blindworm» (Lviv)

🥇  1st place | International program
Manuel Vilarinho «Calling All» (Portugal)

Congratulations to the winners! :) 👏

Visit the CYLOP Facebook page for photos from the festival.

Cinema Poetica winners

This small festival debuted in Oregon in late October. I received an email from the director back on Nov. 18 and forgot to post it:

Kudos and congratulations! Cinema Poetica 2017 screened ten short poetry films at our first international festival. The ten films:

City of My Heart, Kostas Petsas, Greece (Grand Prize Winner)
Love’s River of Errors, Dave Richardson, U.S. (Audience Favorite)
Falling, Dave Bonta, U.S. (Finalist)
Spring on the Strand, AD Cooper, U.K. (Finalist)
Old Rain Temple, Kim Stafford, U.S.(Finalist)
Letter from Avostanis, Luca Fornasiero, Italy
Body Talk, Amy Bobeda, U.S.
Night Court, Erica Goss, U.S.
Love, Judith Barrington, U.S.
I’ve Never Felt this Way Before, Courtney Ross, U.S.

All viewable at https://vimeo.com/album/4821195

Body Talk by Amy Bobeda

“A video poem about the relationship between film, the body, and Lyme Disease,” Body Talk was written and directed by Amy Bobeda. It was one of the films screened last Saturday in Ashland, Oregon as part of Cinema Poetica.

Poetry film screening season is upon us!

Autumn is here, and with it the annual parade of poetry film festivals and screenings that do so much to expose new audiences to this still obscure hybrid genre. Many of the films shown in these events are yet not available to watch on the web (and some may never be), besides which most films do deserve to be seen on the big screen, so please try to support live events like these. Here’s a rather too brief run-down, including one that just concluded.

September 28-October 1: Festival Silêncio, Lisbon, “Isto Não é um Filme. É Um Poema” (That’s Not a Film. It’s a Poem) competition. Just in, here are the results:


Prémio Especial do Júri Competição Nacional:
‘Dia’ de Rita Quelhas

‘A Montanha’ de Pedro Caldeira

‘Running Man’ de Pedro Sena Nunes


Vencedor Internacional
‘Spree’ de Martin Kelly & Ian McBryde

Prémio de Público Internacional
‘Vaccine’ de Kate Sweeney

October 7: Juteback Poetry Film Festival Fall Screening, Fort Collins, Colorado (USA). There’s an annotated list of the films on their website.

October 13: My Eyes Like Rays: National Poetry Competition Filmpoem screening & poetry reading, Poetry Cafe, London (UK). “Filmpoem makers James William Norton, Helmie Stil and Sarah Tremlett will screen all ten NPC films.” I’m glad the Poetry Society is still promoting poetry films, and I hope to be able to share some of them when they’re released to the web.

October 15: 5th Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film Competition screening, Cork (Ireland). Click the foregoing link for the shortlist as well as time and place details.

October 21: Rabbit Heart Poetry film Festival, Worcester, Massachusetts (USA). Here are the 2017 shortlists. (That’s right, they have more than one. And if you think some of them are actually rather long, you should see the longlist. This year they received over 350 submissions from 41 countries!) And here’s the trailer.

October 28: Filmpoem Festival 2017, Lewes, East Sussex (UK). A few more details about the event are on Facebook.

October 28: Cinema Poetica, Ashland, Oregon (USA)

November 9-11: Art Visuals & Poetry Film Festival, Vienna (Austria). Click through and use the drop-down menus to peruse the programs for the multiple components of this supremely well-organized event — now the second largest poetry film festival in the world, with 82 films screening over three days. Here’s the trailer.

November 25-26: 6th CYCLOP Poetry Film Festival, Kiev (Ukraine). The submissions period just closed, so I’m guessing it will be a few weeks until the shortlist is released.

Call for work: new Oregon-based poetry film festival Cinema Poetica

Poetry film festivals are pretty thin on the ground in North America right now, so I was excited to hear about a new one set for October 28 in Ashland, Oregon as part of the Ashland Literary Arts Festival and sponsored by a newish journal called The Timberline Review. Like most film festivals, Cinema Poetica is set up as a contest, and submissions are via FilmFreeway, but the guidelines make it clear that they’re open to decidedly DIY, low-budget, poet-produced videos. It’s not entirely clear whether more professionally made poetry films are welcome, but they don’t appear to be excluded by the rules and terms per se. Instead, I think the “challenge” is intended to encourage adventurous poets with crap equipment to give it a go. But it might be worth querying the editors before submitting more polished work.

There are several other unique features of this contest, mostly reflecting the typical mindset of an American print literary magazine (e.g. the assumption that the poem is essentially textual, preceding the video, and the requirement that it be previously unpublished to be considered for publication) so I’ll take the liberty of reproducing their guidelines in full:

Cinema Poetica logo

Cinema Poetica

The Timberline Review is excited to host Cinema Poetica, a film festival celebrating the cinema of poetry, an emerging short-film genre.

Make a one- to three-minute film featuring a poem you’ve written, or perhaps a poem you wish you’d written, as the dramatic narrative.

It’s poetry. Budget is limited. Technology is what you can shoot on your phone. There aren’t going to be any car chases, stunt doubles, FX, studio overdubs, 35 mm stock, or spaceships.

The Cinema Poetica Challenge

Strip it down to the poem. Strive to make your film not “polished,” but ever more raw, primitive, visceral, surprising, intuitive.

Start with the poem and let the poem be your guide. Shoot in real time. Shoot in real locations. Shoot in color. Incorporate location sound into your film. If you’re going to use music, make the music on camera. Use natural lighting. Use a handheld camera. Forget about special effects and optical filters.

Keep it low-tech and keep it real. Focus on the content of the poem.

For very basic access to editing tools, here’s a good – and free – editing app designed specifically for mobile devices — Adobe Premiere Clip.

Rules and Terms

Film must include a poem narrative and not just include the poem but be grounded in it. In other words, dramatize your poem.

All film submissions should be made through Film Freeway. Ready to submit?

Regular submission period runs August 1st through September 30th, 2017.

Maximum running time is 3 minutes.

Poems can be in any language, but if not in English, you must provide English subtitles.

No filmed readings, please.

If the underlying poem is not the submitter’s own original work, by submitting your film you acknowledge and warrant that you have obtained any and all necessary permissions from the author of the work, which must include the right to record and perform the poem you’ve used in your film.

Judging Criteria

All  films will be evaluated by an independent group of filmmakers and poets. Films judged to best exemplify the Cinema Poetica challenge will be screened at the festival, receive additional recognition, and be considered for the Grand Prize* and Audience Favorite.


Grand Prize winner receives a $250 cash prize and possible publication in The Timberline Review.*

Audience favorite receives a hand-drawn broadside of the poem.

Top ten finalists receive special mention and promotion on The Timberline Review website.

*To be considered for publication, poem must be previously unpublished in the English language.

The Festival

Films will be screened throughout the day, October 28, 2017, in the Hannon Library, on the Southern Oregon University campus in Ashland, Oregon, before an adoring public of indie publishers, authors, filmmakers, editors, and artists celebrating the independent spirit of film, literary, and visual arts. There is no admission fee. All are welcome to attend.

The Grand Prize winner, if present, may be invited to join a conversation about poetry and film with our judges and editors.

And Saturday evening at 6:00, it’s a party! Stay tuned for all the details.

The Gallery

Browse some examples of filmed poetry.


Get more information about the Ashland Literary Arts Festival, or contact editors@timberlinereview.com if you have any other questions.

The Fine Print

Cinema Poetica is a film contest, open to all, sponsored by The Timberline Review, a literary journal published by Willamette Writers, a 501(c)3 organization, based in Portland, Oregon.

Timberline Review editorial staff and members of the Willamette Writers Board of Directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for the Grand Prize.

All films remain the property of the submitter. The Timberline Review and Cinema Poetica retain the right to publicly display any film submitted to the Cinema Poetica film festival, for non-commercial purposes. The Timberline Review retains the right to publish, at its sole discretion, any underlying poem submitted to Cinema Poetica.

Special Thanks

Kim Stafford, Brian Padian, Cascadia Publishers, Mercuria Press, and our partners, Willamette Writers, Ashland Literary Arts Festival, and Film Freeway.