~ cinema ~

News round-up: Motionpoems’ Kickstarter; Dylan Thomas movie; videopoems on Montreal poetry festival website

With just four days to go, Motionpoems’ Kickstarter campaign for its innovative weeCinema outdoor theater is still $15,000 short of its $20,000 goal. As previously reported here, a mere $10 pledge qualifies one to answer their call for poetry films to be screened in the weeCinema during the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. Todd Boss announced on Facebook a few days ago that “Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler emails today to say he’s a huge Motionpoems fan. He pledged $200 to our newest project.” But it won’t happen without a lot more pledges. Do give if you can.


In not-so-wee cinema news, the Welsh newspaper Daily Post reports that

A movie about iconic poet Dylan Thomas, which stars a Holyhead-born actor and music by a top Welsh rocker, is to be released in the United States.

Set Fire to the Stars tells the story of a week in the life of hell-raising Welsh poet Dylan Thomas as he embarked on a disastrous tour of American universities in the 1950s.

By his side is young poetry professor and admirer John Malcolm Brinnin, whose philosophy for looking after the firebrand is “I’ll improvise”, but a fragile friendship is stretched beyond the limit.

Holyhead-born Celyn Jones stars as Thomas and he also co-wrote the script while Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys of Bethesda provides the original soundtrack. Brinnin is played by Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood.

Read the rest.


Finally, a poetry festival set for June in Montreal is foregrounding videopoetry. If, like me, you don’t understand French, here’s what Google Translate makes of it:

The House of Poetry of Montreal, in partnership with the Self media arts center Vidéographe launched an innovative advertising campaign in several districts of the city. On more than one thousand posters in the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Mile End, Ville-Marie, Rosemont Petite-Patrie and in the city center and Old Montreal, passers equipped with a smartphone can now scan a QR code and instantly watch videos-eight poems as many poets and video artists.

The viewer-reader at the end of each video-poem purchase the book of poetry which is taken the extract by a single click. It will then be directed to the website of a bookseller or publisher. He can also view all the video-poems on the www.videopoeme.com or at home in the Plateau-Mont-Royal culture, which showcases the works continuously for the duration of the Festival.

Through this joint development program for stimulating the House of Poetry allows several poets disseminate their work in a new form and touch and new readers. The expertise of Vidéographe in the field of media arts opens wide the door of new technologies to the current Quebec poetry.

Assuming that’s more or less the gist of it, that sounds pretty cool. And the videopoems are already available to watch on the website.

(Hat-tip for the second and third links to Thomas Zendegiacomo del Bel at the ZEBRA Facebook group page)

Poetry at the movies: “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet” and “Endless Poetry”

Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet

There was news this week of two more feature-length movies in which poets and poetry play a leading role. The animated film Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is due to be released in North American theaters next summer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Animation distributor GKIDS has acquired North American rights to Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, the animated featured produced by Salma Hayek that is based on the well-known book by Kahlil Gibran. The film, which was introduced at Cannes and made its North American premiere in Toronto, will be released this summer.

The film features a narrative story written and directed by Roger Allers with individual sections based on Gibran’s poems that were designed and directed by animation directors from around the world, including Tomm Moore (an Oscar nominee this year for Song of the Sea), Joan Gratz, Bill Plympton, Nina Paley, Joann Sfar, Paul and Gaetan Brizzi, Michael Socha and Mohammed Harib.

Its voice cast includes Hayek, Liam Neeson, Quvenzhane Wallis, John Krasinski, Frank Langella and Alfred Molina. The score is by Gabriel Yared, with additional music by songwriters Damien Rice, Glenn Hansard and Lisa Hannigan and performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

And the Chilean poet Alejandro Jodorowsky will sit in the director’s seat for a movie based on his autobiography, Endless Poetry (Poesia sin Fin), as Variety explains:

Alejandro Jodorowsky is set to produce and direct “Endless Poetry,” the continuation of his latest film “The Dance of Reality,” which played at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight.

A Chilean-French-Japanese production, “Endless Poetry” is a fantasy-filled autobiographical tale based on the last chapters of Jodorowsky’s book “The Dance of Reality.”


The film recounts Jodorowsky’s teenage years in Santiago, Chile, and chronicles his struggle to overcome family pressure and find his path as an artist and a poet. Jodorowsky emerged along with Enrique Linh, Nicanor Parra and Stella Diaz as one of the most influential poets of Chile in the 1940s.

“In my memories, my years in Chile had long been associated with suffering and loneliness… but today, at my 85 years of age I have not the least doubt that my encounter with poetry justifies my emergence in that country,” said Jodorowsky.

The producers are planning a Kickstarter campaign, to be launched on February 15.

The “weeCinema” pop-up theater: a unique Kickstarter campaign and call for poetry-film submissions

Todd Boss and Motionpoems have come up with a proposal that’s hard not to fall in love with: a portable, miniature theater made from a shipping container, with a translucent screen at the back so that films will also be viewable from the outside (in reverse), turning the theater into a lightbox at night. It’s especially designed with continuously looping programs of short films in mind.

It could stand as an alternative to the big chain theater experience, where you’re just another member of the herd, moving through the box office. It could create an entirely different kind of intimacy among casual theatergoers who might just be happening by, in a park, on a campus, or on a pedestrian mall.

That’s from the weeCinema Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise $20,000 by February 19 in order to buy the shipping container. The design (by award-winning weeHouse architect Geoff Warner) is in, and it sounds fantastic. I happened across the promotional video when they posted it to Vimeo six days ago, and was so taken by the idea I shared it on Facebook right away (where it garnered lots of likes).

I figured a crowd-funding campaign was on the way, but Motionpoems still managed to surprise me with one ingenious fundraising twist:

Pledge $10 or more

Entry fee. This fee enables you to answer our call for POETRY FILMS. Deadline Feb 25. Your film could be screened in the weeCinema during MSP Int’l Film Festival! Submission details: http://bit.ly/WeeCinema

(MSP = Minneapolis-St. Paul.) So there you have it: possibly the coolest Kickstarter ever. Give till it hurts.