~ PoetryFilm ~

Zata Kitowski interviewed at A Younger Theatre and Write Out Loud

Two recent interviews with the founder and curator of the UK-based PoetryFilm project together serve as a good introduction to Zata Kitowski’s basic philosophy and priorities. In an interview with Frances Spurrier for Write Out Loud, “‘Separating and combining the senses’: the art of the poetry film,” she shows herself to have very broad tastes, while expressing a preference for what has become almost an orthodoxy in poetry-film, filmpoem and videopoetry circles:

How would you define the relation of the poem to the film and vice versa?

The question implies that there is a separation between the poem and the film. Some poetry films are created from the outset as a cohesive poetry film so in this way there is no separation. If the artwork did begin with a poem at the start of the creative process, or with a film, then there are various integration approaches. Duplicating the visual, verbal and aural content is a popular obvious interpretation; however, in my opinion, contrasting different elements is more powerful, playing with the presence and or absence of words, images and sounds. The poetry film art form is a fertile and creative area to explore, and the project celebrates many different approaches, both separating the senses and combining the senses.

A feature article by Heather Kincaid in A Younger Theatre takes the long view, “Celebrating Creativity – Twelve Years of PoetryFilm.” I was especially interested in what Kitowski had to say about the audience for PoetryFilm events:

“We have a really diverse audience,” said Kitowksi. “People come from poetic and literary spheres, as well as from film and artistic circles. I think this diversity is partly influenced by where we hold events – so we might exhibit work at a cinema or film festival, in an art gallery, or at a literary festival. The response from audiences has been very positive both in the UK and abroad.”

Judging by the fact that her latest event, PoetryFilm Solstice at the ICA in London, sold out a day in advance, I’d say the response is very positive indeed. Even though my own approach at Moving Poems is to pull in fans of film and poetry with the lure of free web videos, I recognize that seeing films in a theater or art gallery is a wholly different—and generally much more immersive—experience, and having a knowledgeable guide to interpret each film really adds value as well. And as a poet, I love the idea of getting people to pay real money to go hear and see poetry. So here’s wishing PoetryFilm many more years of success.

Athens International Film Poetry Festival set for Nov. 28; tickets on sale for PoetryFilm Solstice


We have updates on two poetry film festivals this week. The International Film Poetry Festival in Athens, which had previously been advertised as coming some time in December, is in fact going to take place next Friday, November 28, according to its website:

The yearly International Film Poetry Festival will be held for third time in Greece on Friday 28/11/2014 2014 in Athens. Approximately 1000 people attended the festival last year.

There will be two different zones of the festival. The first zone will include video poems, visual poems, short film poems and cinematic poetry by artists from all over the world (America, Asia, Europe, Africa). The second zone will include cross-platform collaborations of sound producers and music groups with poets and visual artists in live improvisations.

The International Film Poetry Festival 2014 attempts to create an open public space for the creative expression of all tendencies and streams of contemporary visual poetry.

It is very important to notice that this festival is a part of the counter-culture activities of Void Network and + the Institute [for Experimental Arts] and will be non-sponsored, free entrance, non commercial and non profit event. The festival will cover the costs (2000 posters, 15.000 flyers, high quality technical equipment e.t.c.) from the incomes of the bar of the festival.


For those of you who prefer a bit of advanced planning in your lives, tickets are on sale for PoetryFilm’s last event of 2014 at the ICA Cinema in London:

PoetryFilm Solstice

21 Dec 2014
3:00 pm | Cinema 1 | £7.00 to £11.00

Book Tickets

“Founded by artist Zata Kitowski over a decade ago, the PoetryFilm art project continues to play with the avant-garde” – aqnb, 2014

PoetryFilm celebrates experimental poetryfilms, art films, text films, sound films, silent films, poet-filmmaker collaborations, auteur films, films based on poems, poems based on films, and other avant-garde text/image/sound screening and performance material.

The PoetryFilm project has resulted in over 60 events at cinemas, galleries, literary festivals and academic institutions featuring films, poetry readings, live performances and talks. PoetryFilm Solstice will feature a programme of short poetryfilms and live performances curated by Zata Kitowski – the full programme will be posted here shortly.

PoetryFilm is supported by Arts Council England.

News roundup: 6 poetry film festivals still upcoming in 2014; Poetryfilmkanal; ZEBRA’s new channels

The call for artists to participate in the International Film Poetry Festival in Athens is apparently still open. The exact date for the festival in December has not been set.

Other international poetry-film festivals coming up in November and December include:

A huge thanks to the new German-language website Poetryfilmkanal (Poetryfilmchannel) for helping me remember all these festivals. The site doesn’t officially launch until February, but it already includes some very useful features: the calendar, which I drew on for this post; a timeline of landmark films in poetry-film history, with links to YouTube; and a bibliography of selected books and journal articles. The Google translation of their About page makes the project sound very promising indeed.

And speaking of great resources, the ZEBRA folks have been going all-out this week to improve online exposure to films that have been screened at their festivals, creating a new ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival channel on Vimeo, as well as a Vimeo album and a YouTube playlist for just the films from the 2014 festival. These are as yet limited to films uploaded by the creators themselves, but in time I hope that ZEBRA will be able to upload their own copies of films they’ve screened, as well, providing not only a much more complete picture, but also a more stable, long-term archive of international poetry film.