~ DVDs ~

News roundup: Read Our Lips Filmpoem Competition, Rabbit Heart DVD, animated poetry film screening in Leipzig

Spoken-word poets from the north of England are invited to submit films to the Read Our Lips Filmpoem Competition 2015.

Read Our Lips is a unique digital project that aims to give poets and spoken word artists the skills to make their own filmpoems, from storyboarding through to editing.

We believe that a filmpoem is not a recording of a performance to camera, but is instead a layering of visual elements on to a spoken poem in such a way as to create a new, coherent work of art. We are looking for films that do more than simply illustrate the featured poem in a literal way, but which seek to surprise, enhance or subvert by their choice of additional imagery.

Click through to the Facebook event listing for the competition terms and conditions. The deadline is February 23, 2015. Prizes total £225. (I especially liked this bit: “All poems will be screened online during March 2015 for entry into the viewer’s choice prize category.”)


Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2014 DVDHere’s a cool thing: just in time for the holidays, a Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2014 DVD from Doublebunny Press.

All the best video from the 2014 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival collected in one place, including category reels, and the Best of What Not to Submit Monday.
Films by:
Yves Bommenel, Greg Brisendine, John Mortara, Sarah Guimond, Aisha Naseem & Chris Markman, Josh Lefkowitz and Chris Follmer, David Richardson, Timothy David Orme, Meriel Lland, Megan Falley and Rachel Rae Gausp, Malt Schlitzman, Cheryl Maddalena, Sou MacMillan, Jenith Charpentier, Laura EJ Moran, Scott Woods, Michael Medeiros, Cassidy Parker Knight & Jeff Knight, and Allan & the Nieces

To sample some of the films included on the DVD, see their YouTube page.


Here’s an upcoming screening that sounds kind of intriguing: Leipzig-Präsentation von LAB/P – poetry in motion.

Wir präsentieren 9 Animationsfilme, die in der interdisziplinären Zusammenarbeit von AutorInnen und FilmemacherInnen aus der Region entstanden sind. Die Werke ermöglichen einen spannenden Einblick in zeitgenössische Lyrik und Animationsästhetik und geben Gelegenheit, neue künstlerische Positionen zu entdecken.

Which Google Translate renders as:

We present 9 animated films that have arisen in the interdisciplinary collaboration between authors and filmmakers from the region. The works provide a fascinating insight into contemporary poetry and animation aesthetics and given the opportunity to discover new artistic positions.

Here are the details:

Donnerstag, 11. Dezember 2014
Kleiner Empfang ab 19:30 Uhr, Vorführungsbeginn 20:00 Uhr
UT Connewitz, Wolfgang-Heinze-Straße 12, 04277 Leipzig, www.utconnewitz.de

KANTEN DEINER AUGEN (Melissa Harms & Yevgeniy Breyger)
ROSTOCK, GRAND CAFÉ (Susann Arnold & Moritz Gause)
DAS BILD IN DEM BILD IN DEM BILD IN DEM BILD (Catalina G. Veléz & Marlen Pelny)
ECHO (Damaris Zielke & Peter Thiers)
AUSGEBRANNTES HAUS (Eva-Maria Arndt & Antje Kersten)
OHNE TITEL (Meng Chang & Daniel Schmidt)
VIVA VIOLENCE (Johanna Maxl & Katharina Merten)
DIE ANGST DES WOLFS VOR DEM WOLF (Juliane Jaschnow & Stefan Petermann)
KASPAR HAUSERIN (Nelly Chernetskaya & Katia S. Ditzler)


Thanks for all three of these news items to the fabulous Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel, who seems to know about everything related to poetry film going on anywhere on the world, and posts it all to the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival group page on Facebook.

Belgian literary magazine Deus Ex Machina’s Filmpoem Album

I’ve long been interested in exploring different delivery systems for poetry films. Though videos on the web are Moving Poems’ bread and butter, and are clearly going to remain the dominant delivery system for years to come, that doesn’t mean we should ignore other media and venues, such as mobile apps, exhibition spaces, festivals and DVDs. And as Deus Ex Machina #149, Filmpoem Album, demonstrates, there’s no reason why literary magazines have to confine their video publications to the web. Poetry editor Michael Vandebril called upon guest editors Willem Bongers-Deck and Judith Dekker to develop this collection in time for Filmpoem‘s program at the Felix Poetry Festival in Antwerp this past June.

The DVD and accompanying print journal are also available from their website, and they were kind enough to send me a review copy. The poets are all from Belgium and Netherlands and I don’t know Dutch or French, so of course I can’t fully evaluate the films as videopoems. But based on what I do understand, I think that other print literary journals should pay close attention to what they’ve done here — it’s an example well worth emulating, with a couple of possible exceptions which I’ll discuss below.

The above trailer includes snippets of all but one of the 11 short films included in the DVD. As these snippets perhaps suggest, many of the films are watchable on account of their imagery alone, which speaks to the expertise of the filmmakers. For what it’s worth, I was especially taken with the imagery in films directed by Philippe Werkers, Reyer Boxem, Anton Coene, Jeroen Sebrecht, and Dimitri van Zeebroeck. The absence of Marc Neys from the line-up seemed a little odd, but perhaps they wanted to show that there was more to Belgian filmmaking than the otherwise nearly inescapable Swoon. The branding by Deus Ex Machina was minimal — just enough to provide a thread of continuity to an otherwise diverse mix of aspect ratios and approaches, including a few animations, color as well as black-and-white, etc. All the directors chose to include the poems as voiceovers — as opposed to via text — which also helped unify the collection. The longest (7:07) and most experimental poetry film came at the end, which was probably a wise programming choice.

I should stress that overall this is a really high-quality product. The journal issue is perfect-bound with printing on the spine and the DVD tucked securely into the flap of the back cover. The poems appear in the same order as they do in the DVD, so one can read along. Oddly, though, the information about who directed the film made for each poem is not included alongside, but only in the table of the contents, and fuller credits only appear on the DVD. Instead, opposite each poem on the left-hand page is a full-color photo of the poet, and while this makes for a very elegant design, and it may be the way other issues of Deus Ex Machina are set up, it struck me as an odd fit for this issue. I would’ve preferred stills from the films, accompanied by the credits; the author photos could have been relegated to the bios at the back. And the fact that the directors don’t also have photos in the magazine bothered me a little bit. Why should poets get all the glory?

These minor quibbles aside, I’m very impressed with the obvious care and attention that went into DEM’s Filmpoem Album, and I hope other literary magazines will consider following suit. Also, I’m flattered that the Foreword (also on the website) cites Moving Poems as (according to Google Translate) “authoritative,” though it must be said that my nearly exclusive focus on English-language videos, or videos with English subtitles, does make the site a bit less inclusive than it might otherwise be. But that’s precisely why we need projects like DEM 149 to help pick up the slack.