~ Filmpoem Festival ~

RED by Salena Godden

Anything you can do we can do bleeding
We can do anything dripping with blood

Salena Godden released this poem and video back in September in collaboration with Nasty Women UK, a London art show that raised money to combat violence against women and girls, according to a blog post.

Salena Godden, one of the UK’s most iconic poets, has stepped forward to donate her latest poem RED in a collaboration with Nasty Women UK.

“RED is a poem about periods. RED is about stigma. This is about women’s autonomy over their own bodies and their own choices. RED is a protest poem against the tampon tax, anger that sanitary products have been considered a luxury item and therefore taxable. RED is a fury that money from the UK tampon tax is funding anti-abortion charities. I have great admiration for the work of the Nasty Women’s global movement and donate this work as an endorsement. We must end all violence against all women in all its forms. We must end the tampon tax. I wish all women to have a bloody safe and bloody healthy period. Period!”

Nasty Women is a global art movement that serves to demonstrate solidarity among artists who identify with being a Nasty Woman in the face of threats to roll back women’s rights, individual rights, and abortion rights. With over 40 events across the globe Nasty Women Exhibitions also serve to support organizations defending these rights and to be a platform for organization and resistance.

Click through for the text of the poem.

The video was screened as part of Godden’s headlining performance at this past weekend’s Filmpoem Festival in Lewes.

The Desktop Metaphor by Caleb Parkin

The Desktop Metaphor is a film by Helmie Stil of Caleb Parkin’s second placed poem in the National Poetry Competition 2016, commissioned by Alastair Cook of Filmpoem in partnership with the Poetry Society.

Dutch filmmaker Helmie Stil is also the organizer of Filmpoem Festival 2017 at the Depot in Lewes on October 28, which will include a screening of all ten of the films made for the 2016 winners of the UK Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition.

Caleb Parkin is a “poet, performer, artist, facilitator and educator, based in Bristol.” His poem on the page takes an interesting diptych-like form as the words echo back and forth from one line to the next.

Filmpoem Festival 2017 program released

The Filmpoem Festival slated for Saturday, 28 October in Lewes, UK has released a very full and innovative program.

Some of the UK’s best spoken word poets come together to perform live, integrated with films inspired by poetry. Depot screens film poems from around the world and shows some fantastic national poetry competition films. And then it’s your turn – we round the evening off with an open mic session.

Helmie Stil, organiser of this year’s festival and filmmaker, created this trailer mainly from footage of the new 10 National Poetry Competition Films which will be shown at the festival. Original music by Lennert Busch.

The events include:

  • Première of two short animation films made by children during the Depot workshop, inspired by a poem by Colin West
  • Live poetry performances by Louisa Campbell, Maria Jastrzębska and Siân Thomas
  • Dean Atta will perform his poetry live, show his own poetry films, and also present three of his favorite poetry films from the South East
  • Filmpoem and The Poetry Society present the 10 National Poetry Competition 2016 winners realized as poetry-film
  • Madi Maxwell-Libby performs her poetry live, followed by a screening of the documentary We Belong, featuring Madi and seven other UK poets and spoken word artists on ‘state of the nation’ themes
  • Ross Sutherland’s live performance of Stand-By For Tape Back-Up, his well-reviewed videopoem about memory, death and re-runs
  • Open Competition winners presentation and screening
  • Matt Abbott performs his poetry live and shows his poetry films
  • Salena Godden, one of UK’s best spoken word poets, will perform exciting new work live, and will show, amongst other short films, her newest film poem RED, written and filmed in response to the tampon tax and period poverty
  • Open mic

A hearty congratulations to the organizers for such an exciting line-up! Book your tickets today.

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 submissions: Filmpoem Festival 2017 at Depot, Lewes

Filmpoem Festival 2017 banner

Filmpoem, the artists’ moving image project founded by British artist Alastair Cook in 2010, is at long last sponsoring another poetry-film festival and competition, this time partnering with Depot in Lewes, East Sussex and the UK’s Poetry Society. Submissions are open through September 8th, and the festival will be held on Saturday, October 28th.

Note that the rules are a bit stricter than for most poetry-film festivals: submission is by physical artifact (USB stick or DVD) only, and explicit permission, rather than simply the blanket permission granted by a Creative Commons licence, must be obtained for all copyrighted material such as music used in the film. UPDATE: Digital submissions and CC licences are now permitted. See the complete guidelines on the Filmpoem website.

While you’re there, be sure to read the essay on the About page, which appears to have been recently augmented with new material, for a better understanding of what Alastair means by filmpoetry.

But tell me, who are they, these Travellers, by Tony Williams

Director Alan Fentiman worked with poet Tony Williams to produce a documentary on the relationship between dog-walking and writing, concluding with a poem that grew out of the film-making process. I first saw Roam to Write at the 2013 Filmpoem Festival in Dunbar, Scotland, and when I got back to the States I shared the link with some friends who study the literature of place but inexplicably forgot to share it here. It was brought back to mind by a new video released by the same two guys, a film of a pub discussion about poetry film, which I posted at Moving Poems Magazine on Sunday.

Roam to Write was funded by Northumbria University, where Williams is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing. Fentiman has a page about the film on his website:

“Roam to Write” is a short documentary film which I filmed, edited and produced in Alnwick Northumberland. The 15 minute film follows poet Tony Williams as he walks the same route over 5 days. Each day Tony addresses different aspects of the creative relationship between walking and writing.

I especially love working with artists and writers, and documenting their creative process. I want the audience to gain an understanding of how ideas develop and emerge through a piece of work. Working with Tony was a especially rewarding as we developed the idea for the film over many months. It allowed me time to absorb and reflect on Tony’s writing process and work out ways of showing this through film.

During filming Tony worked on a piece of poetry called “But tell me, who are they, these Travellers” which he performs at the end of the film. This poem reflects on his earlier observations about writing and walking.

I shot the the film over a week with a Panasonic AF101, a steadicam and a GH2. We developed the initial ideas during fireside discussions at The Tanners pub in Alnwick. Tony then wrote the script and together we developed the storyboard over egg and chip lunches and the odd evening pint. After logging the footage in Adobe Prelude, Tony sat with me throughout the editing process.

Williams expanded his thoughts into an open-access journal article, “The Writer Walking the Dog: Creative Writing Practice and Everyday Life.” Here’s the abstract:

Creative writing happens in and alongside the writer’s everyday life, but little attention has been paid to the relationship between the two and the contribution made by everyday activities in enabling and shaping creative practice. The work of the anthropologist Tim Ingold supports the argument that creative writing research must consider the bodily lived experience of the writer in order fully to understand and develop creative practice. Dog-walking is one activity which shapes my own creative practice, both by its influence on my social and cultural identity and by providing a time and space for specific acts instrumental to the writing process to occur. The complex socio-cultural context of rural dog-walking may be examined both through critical reflection and creative work. The use of dog-walking for reflection and unconscious creative thought is considered in relation to Romantic models of writing and walking through landscape. While dog-walking is a specific activity with its own peculiarities, the study provides a case study for creative writers to use in developing their own practice in relation to other everyday activities from running and swimming to shopping, gardening and washing up.

Upcoming poetry-film screenings: Minneapolis, Edinburgh, Lublin and London

May 21 in Minneapolis
Motionpoems Season 6 World Premiere.

Two screenings: 6:00pm and 8:00pm with a half-hour panel discussion taking place after the 6 pm screening. Each screening will last less than 60 minutes and will be hosted by Motionpoems Artistic Director Todd Boss and MPR ‘movie maven’ Stephanie Curtis. Many featured poets and filmmakers will be on hand. It’ll be a night of great poetry brought to cinematic life!

May 24 in Edinburgh

Filmpoem Festival Fifteen at Hidden Door.

Filmpoem Festival 15 will be an open­-ended series of events and screenings. After our successful Antwerp festival in 2014, we are working this year with The Poetry Society and a series of universities and poetry festivals, presenting Filmpoem’s established mix of poetry­film, live film performance, poets, filmmakers, and discussions.

May 28 in Lublin, Poland

A screening of films from the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival as part of Festiwal Miasto Poezji (City of Poetry Festival).

June 13 in London

Mahu in Video at the Hardy Tree Gallery.

The emerging medium of poetry film or cinepoetry, crossing poetic principles with video art has often been overtaken by limited, dualistic collaborations. This evening aims to screen the more complex understandings of this new potentiality, another weapon in the pocket of the contemporary poet – the moving image. Co-curated by Dave Spittle & Gareth Evans
– Films from Joshua Alexander, David Kelly-Mancaux, Simon Barraclough, Caroline Alice Lopez, Robert Herbert McClean & more

June 21 in London

PoetryFilm Solstice at The Groucho Club.
Submissions are now being considered for this event, the post says. Here are the guidelines.

Please note that, contrary to what I had previously suggested here, the Laugharne Castle Poetry and Film Festival does NOT appear to be happening this year. (I had mis-read the website.)

Poetry-film screenings and exhibitions in May

This is everything I have a date and link for at present. (Upcoming events for PoetryFilm also include a “PoetryFilm event at The Groucho Club, London (UK)” sometime in May.)

All month (through June 7) in Taichung, Taiwan

TYPEMOTION: Type as Image in Motion exhibition.

All month (through July 5) in Montreal

Carrefour Vidéo-poétique video installation.

May 6 in Münster

Best of ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival 2014: AUSLESE. The third of three events presented by Filmwerkstatt Münster in the Palace Theatre, compiled and moderated by the ZEBRA program director Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel.

Aus den Einsendungen des ZEBRA 2014 präsentieren wir das breite Spektrum des deutschen und internationalen Poesiefilms. Krisen, Sehnsüchte, Angst, Lust und Liebe bilden eine gelungene Mischung.

May 21 in Minneapolis

Motionpoems Season 6 World Premiere.

For season 6, we’ve partnered with VIDA: Women in Literary Arts to produce a season by incredible female poets and a diverse array of amazing independent filmmakers from around the world.

We’ll premiere them for the first time on the big screen at the Walker Art Center Cinema in Minneapolis on May 21, and you’re invited.

Two screenings: 6:00pm and 8:00pm with a half-hour panel discussion taking place after the 6 pm screening. Each screening will last less than 60 minutes and will be hosted by Motionpoems Artistic Director Todd Boss. Many featured poets and filmmakers will be on hand. It’ll be a night of great poetry brought to cinematic life!

For more information (including a list of all 20 films), see the Motionpoems news page.

May 24 in Edinburgh

Filmpoem Festival Fifteen at Hidden Door.

Filmpoem Festival 15 will be an open­-ended series of events and screenings. After our successful Antwerp festival in 2014, we are working this year with The Poetry Society and a series of universities and poetry festivals, presenting Filmpoem’s established mix of poetry­film, live film performance, poets, filmmakers, and discussions.

Deadlines approach for Filmpoem Festival, ‘Bring a Poem to Life’ competition, and Rabbit Heart

Two calls for work previously announced here are closing in early May, while a third stays open until July 1, allowing a little more time for procrastinators (in whose company I proudly include myself). Those submission deadlines:

In the much longer term, submissions to Carbon Culture‘s $1000 poetry film prize are open until January 1. But there’s been a little more information about it since I originally posted their call:

Zata Kitowski, director of PoetryFilm, will pick the grand prize winner and finalists. The winning entry will receive $1,000.00. The top five entries will receive high-profile placements across a number of networks, note in a one page ad alongside honorable mentions in our newsstand print and device editions. All entries are considered for sponsored entry to our list of film festivals and poetry film festivals.

And speaking of Zata Banks (née Kitowski), it’s worth pointing out that submissions to PoetryFilm never close — there’s no deadline whatsoever. Which does put us procrastinators in a bit of a bind.

Trein by Astrid Haerens

Flemish poet Astrid Haerens‘ poem “Trein” in a film by American animators Annelyse Gelman and Auden Lincoln-Vogel, commissioned last year by Filmpoem and included in Deus ex Machina‘s “Filmpoem Album” DVD (which I reviewed here). Now it’s available with English subtitling.

Submissions are open for Filmpoem Festival Fifteen

Filmpoem Festival 15

Reprinted from the Filmpoem website. This is the Filmpoem Festival’s third year, and it’s great to see Alastair Cook’s vision for it continue to expand and adapt. Films aren’t static, so why should film festivals stay the same? Also, kudos for giving in to poetic temptation and embracing the f-alliteration. —Dave

Filmpoem Festival Fifteen will be an open-ended series of events and screenings. After our successful Antwerp festival in 2014, we are working within the British Isles this year with The Poetry Society and a series of universities and poetry festivals, presenting Filmpoem’s established mix of poetry-film, live film performance, poets, filmmakers, and discussions.

“The combination of film and poetry is an attractive one. For the poet, perhaps a hope that the filmmaker will bring something to the poem: a new audience, a visual attraction, the laying of way markers; for the filmmaker, a fixed parameter to respond to, the power of a text sparking the imagination with visual connections and metaphor.” Alastair Cook, Anon 7 (Edinburgh, 2010).

This wonderful hybrid artform has become a great new force in the worlds of film and poetry provoking a range of terminologies: filmpoem, videopoem, cinepoem and poetry-film each reflecting different origins and schools of thought.


– Films should be no more than 15 minutes in length. If you have a particular film for consideration which is over 15 minutes, please contact us directly.

– The work should contain the full text of a poem or multiple, related poems, whether spoken or using visual text. Talking-head poems will be considered on merit but the poetry-film is a genre that encourages filmic exploration. Poetic film or poetry inspired film without words will also be accepted on merit, depending on relevance.

– Work outside the genre cannot be accepted.

– All submitted work not in the English language must contain English subtitles.

– Deadline for submissions is 1st May 2015

There are two ways to submit:


– Upload a screening quality copy of your film to http://vimeo.com. Ensure you set the privacy settings to password only and set the password to filmpoem15

– Email a digital copy of your biography, your full name and contact information to submit@filmpoem.com


– Send a screening quality copy of your film (Quicktime file – m4v or mov) on a USB stick or DVD. Please do NOT embed the film. DVDs are non-returnable but all USB sticks are returnable if you include a stamped addressed envelope.

– Include a digital copy of your biography, your full name and contact information to

Filmpoem Festival, 21 Cambridge Gardens, Edinburgh, EH6 5DH, UNITED KINGDOM


There is no entry fee.

All submissions will be considered as your screening copy so if the resolution is not sufficient, we will unfortunately not be able to screen your film.

We would encourage the use of original soundtracks wherever possible as no copyright material can be used without the express permission of the poet, musician, filmmaker and/or author.

We will consider your submission as granting us copyright permission to screen the film for the duration of the project and will retain your film for archive unless expressly instructed otherwise.

Many thanks and good luck!


Poetry film festival news: upcoming screenings and calls for submissions

The autumn months may be the prime time for poetry film festivals, but two festivals are hosting special screenings in early March. On March 5, UK’s Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival will be reprising many of its 2014 selections in a two-hour screening called “Reflections” at The Little Theatre Cinema in Bath, as part of the Bath Literature Festival. “First shown in September at The Arnolfini, Bristol we are now including a new film from Bath Spa University students entitled Mesmorism,” says Lucy English on the Liberated Words Facebook page, which includes the full details.

Berlin’s ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is also on the road, but traveling a bit farther: “The Literaturwerkstatt Berlin will present the best poetry films of the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival at the German-Russian shortfilm festival ‘Vkratze!’ in Wolgograd [Volgograd]” in Russia on March 7, says Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel on Facebook, sharing a link to the event page. It sounds like an interesting festival over-all, “dedicated to the interaction of Germany and Russia in the field of short film as well as the involvement of young filmmakers and the audience in a diversified festival context.” The ZEBRA screening will include films from all over the world, but with a particular emphasis on Germany and Russia, as I understand it.

(The ZEBRA folks are unusually active in pursuing international screening opportunities; be sure to join their Facebook page and/or group if you want to make sure to stay informed about all of their activities. I don’t always get around to linking them here.)

Yet another Facebook page, the Filmpoem group, is my source for the next tidbit: Alastair Cook posted that

Filmpoem will be doing an open call for this year’s festival and events around the UK, opening on the 1st March and closing on the 1st May. This year we’ll do a digital as well as hard copy call, you may be relieved to hear! First event? Hidden Door in Edinburgh, home turf for once! We’re on Sunday 24th May. Get your tickets sorted, this one will be big!

See the Hidden Door website for more info on that event. And if you’re a filmmaker or videopoet, get ready to submit not only to Filmpoem but also to Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival in Worcester, Massachusetts. Submissions open on 27 February—next Friday—for its 2015 festival. See the Rules page for complete details. It looks as if they’ll be continuing their unique focus on poets as active filmmakers:

The work must be the submitter’s original work: the poetry must be by the submitter, and that person should be directly involved in the process of making the video. We want you to make the video, not hire someone else to make it. This is not to say that we think asking for help is a bad thing – we think teaming up is super, actually. Just, you know, respect the spirit of this thing, and don’t buy it, make it. If you’re a filmmaker making a video for a poet, you should submit together as a team. Just make sure the poet has a part in this filmy business other than just handing you the poem, natch.