~ Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel ~

ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival moves to Münster, issues call for entries

ZEBRA, the world’s premiere poetry film festival, has been held in Berlin every other year since 2002, a project of Literaturwerkstatt Berlin (which is in the process of changing its name to Haus für Poesie). Though spin-off events derived from the main festival regularly occur all over the world in cooperation with local arts organizations, in 2016 the festival has a new home altogether—Filmwerkstatt Münster—and a new website at zebrapoetryfilm.org (with an English-language option).

The international ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival has a new home in Münster. From the 27th to the 30th of October 2016, for the very first time the Filmwerkstatt Münster, in cooperation with Literaturwerkstatt Berlin/Haus für Poesie, will host the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Münster|Berlin.

The idea for a festival for short films combining poetry with moving pictures was created in 2002 by the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin/Haus für Poesie. They organized the festival in Berlin until 2014 and have established it as the biggest platform for the genre poetry film. At the initiative of Kunststiftung NRW, the relocation is anticipated to carry the genre beyond the borders of the capital and anchor it in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In Münster, ZEBRA is going to take place every other year – alternating with the Filmfestival Münster and the Lyrikertreffen. With special offers for schools, the kids programme ZEBRINO, film presentations about diverse topics, discussions and poetry readings, the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Münster|Berlin invites a wide audience to discover the poetry film for themselves.

The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Münster|Berlin will be held from the 27th to the 30th of October 2016 at cinema Schlosstheater in Münster. On the 31st of October 2016, the winning entries and a selection of the best films will be presented in Berlin.

Of most interest to the filmmakers and videopoets reading this, I suppose, is the other article currently on their front page:

Submissions for the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival Münster|Berlin begin on the 1st of February 2016

From the 1st of February 2016 artists from all over the world can submit their contributions. A total of five prizes, among them two audience awards, are endowed together with 12.000 €. Eligible for submission are poetry films with a maximum length of 15 minutes that were finished after 1st of January 2013. Deadline for entries is the 1st of July 2016.

The international competition is the heart of the programme, which will be comprised of approximately 200 films in total. A programme commission consisting of film, poetry and media experts is going to nominate the films for the festival and the competition. An international jury will choose the winning films, which will also be shown by the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin/Haus für Poesie in Berlin.

The festival is also inviting entries of films based on this year’s festival poem, »Orakel van een gevonden schoen« by Mustafa Stitou. The directors of the three best films will be invited to Münster to meet the poet and have the opportunity to present and discuss their films. You will find the poem with a sound recording and various translations at lyrikline.org.

Visit zebrapoetryfilm.org for contact information. I’m pleased to see that Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel will continue as ZEBRA’s artistic director, suggesting that there will be a high degree of continuity despite the switch from sponsorship by an organization focused on poetry to one focused on film. He’ll be joined by managing directors Risna Olthuis and Carsten Happe, who have also run the Münster Film Festival since 2014.

New essays on poetry film by Nissmah Roshdy and Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel

The German website Poetryfilmkanal has been sticking to its schedule of monthly featured poetry films and weekly short essays. Much of the content is in German, of course, including a recent essay by ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival organizer Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel, “Poesiefilme, Festivals und soziale Netzwerke,” but Google Translate gives the gist of it.

Nissmah RoshdyFortunately for us monolingual types, the latest essay, by Egyptian filmmaker Nissmah Roshdy—”Poetry Films: A Genre Alien To A Poetry Nation“—is in English. Roshdy brings a unique perspective on a uniquely poetry-drenched culture:

For some reason, Arabic Poetry, which is only the most significant form of art produced by the Arab world and considered one of the most visually rich and sophisticated breeds of poetry, had never officially taken part in the conversation of poetry films worldwide in a noteworthy manner. It sounded crazy to me, but I figured that it’s not surprising if you actually consider how many Arabs today appreciate or even understand their own poetry. But regardless of that, the main problem I saw was because of how poets and visual artists in the Arab world have no interest in collaborating with one another. The issue, as I see it, is from the literary experts side. For many writers, the argument usually made is that the beauty of poetry must be in the words only and how they manifest themselves visually in the imagination of each reader. However, this notion should not be threatened by the discourse of poetry films, because a poetry film is essentially a manifestation of the imagination exercise we go through while reading a poem. The defining line here is in accepting a Poetry film as an example of a visual representation of a poem as seen by one person.

Read the rest.

Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel: Ten Favorite Funny Poetry Films

“Always look on the bright side of life” (Eric Idle). So here are ten funny poetry films which have participated in past editions of the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival, a project of the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin in cooperation with interfilm Berlin. Enjoy!

Oedipus (poem by Nathan Filer)
Rong, 2005


The Art of Drowning (poem by Billy Collins)
Diego Maclean, 2009


Missed Aches (poem by Taylor Mali)
Joanna Priestley, 2009



Der Conny ihr Pony (poem by Gabriel Vetter)
Robert Pohle and Martin Hentze, 2008


Financially strapped (poem by Katrin Bowen)
Katrin Bowen, 2008


Höpöhöpö Böks (poem by Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl)
Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, 2008


Dialog über Österreich (poem by Gerhard Rühm)
Hubert Sielecki, 2012


Giraffe (poem by Annelyse Gelman)
by Annelyse Gelman and Auden Lincoln-Vogel, 2013


On Loop (poem by Christine Hooper and Victoria Manifold)
Christine Hooper, 2013


Carnivore Reflux (poem by Eddie White)
Eddie White, 2006

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.

Erica Goss on ZEBRA 2014

Poet Erica Goss’s Third Form column in Connotation Press this month is devoted to her impressions of the 7th ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival, and includes a short interview with ZEBRA’s artistic director Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel as well as a list of “ten video poems from the festival that deserve attention.” The majority of these have yet to appear on Moving Poems, so do check it out.

Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel on ZEBRA and poetry films

Directly following the awards ceremony at the end of the 2014 ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin, I sat down with ZEBRA’s artistic director, Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel, for a brief chat. I wanted to learn a bit more about how he and the other members of the program committee (Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck, Heinz Hermanns, Ulrike Almut Sandig and Heiko Strunk) chose the films to be screened, and how Literaturwerkstatt Berlin manages to plan and produce such a big festival. And snce Zandegiacomo is something of an expert on the history of poetry film, I wanted to ask what trends or fashions he’s seen in recent years, and where he sees the genre going in the future.

Mention is made of another Literaturwerkstatt production, lyrikline — an online archive of audiopoetry comparable to PennSound in the U.S., but many times larger and more international in its focus. They just added their 1000th poet on October 18.

As for my own impressions of ZEBRA as a first-time attendee: I found it very well-organized (albeit with a few technical glitches), intellectually and aesthetically stimulating, and a bit overwhelming. It was impossible to attend all the screenings, readings and other events even with a number of repeat screenings in the schedule — especially if one also took advantage of the opportunity to drink beer network and socialize each night. As I say in the video, I liked the way filmmakers were invited on-stage for brief interviews with the moderator after their films were aired, though I did hear other attendees complain that this interrupted the flow. As a web native, I suppose I have a pretty high tolerance for interruptions and distractions. But the folks at Literaturwerkstatt Berlin take the “werkstatt” (workshop) part of their name very seriously; craft talks are part of their core mission.

I was very impressed by the three-person jury (Cornelia Klauss, Alice Lyons and Michael Roes). Each of their four choices was a challenging, unconventional film-poem, in contrast to some of the more mainstream prizewinners from past ZEBRAs. I got the impression that 100% of the prize money goes to the filmmakers, but perhaps some of them will split it with the poets whose work they used, as I heard one animator in the awards ceremony audience vow to do if she won. I liked the themed screenings and was frustrated that I couldn’t attend more of them, but fortunately the paper edition of the festival program includes every film, so I can watch all the ones that have been uploaded to the web (probably at least half of them).

Liberated Words festival underway, and ZEBRA releases full schedule

As previously announced, Liberated Words III is spread over two weekends this year, so if you couldn’t make it to Bristol for today’s events “showcasing Memory competition finalists, commemorating the anniversary of the 1914-18 war, and entries based on Ivor Gurney’s poem The High Hills Have a Bitterness,” there’s always Sarah Tremlett’s screening of international poetry videos on the 19th and the day-long masterclass with Marc Neys on the 20th. Visit the front page of their website for the details, and if you’re on Facebook, ask to join the Liberated Words group page, so that even if you can’t make the festival, you can still participate vicariously.

Meanwhile, I see that the full schedule for next month’s ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival has been uploaded to the Literaturwerkstatt website. And Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel summarized the results of the competition on Facebook earlier this week:

More than 770 Submissions from 70 countries were sent in for the 7th ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival. The Programme Commission nominated 29 of them for the competition. Four prizes will be given out this year by the three-person, international jury: the ZEBRA Prize for the Best Poetry Film«, sponsored by the Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, the »Goethe Film Prize«, sponsored by the Goethe Institute, the »Ritter Sport Film Prize«, sponsored by Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG (Ritter Sport Chocolate), the »Prize for the Best Film for Tolerance«, sponsored by the Foreign Office, as well as the ZEBRINO – the prize for the Best Film for Children and Young People sponsored by Berlin on bike. The prizes have a total value of €12,000.

I’m excited! This will be my first time attending the world’s premiere poetry film festival. I’ll be part of a panel discussion on October 18th, “Poetry Films in the Digital World,” focusing on “the opportunities presented by various internet platforms.” I hope to see some of you there. Here’s the 2014 ZEBRA trailer:

Speaking of opportunities presented by internet platforms, I think all poetry film festivals should release trailers on the web. I seem to recall that the Body Electric festival in Colorado had a particularly effective trailer last year.

“Shot Through the Heart”: a poetry film competition from Southbank Centre

London’s Southbank Centre is holding a love-themed poetry film competition with Alastair Cook, Thomas Zandegiacomo Del Bel and Malgorzata Kitowski as judges.

Shot Through the Heart – Southbank Centre Poetry Film Competition

Friday 14 February – Friday 30 May

Calling all poets and filmmakers! Love is in the air at Southbank Centre and we want you to create poetry films that explore the joy of first love, the pain of lost love, the confusion of displaced love, the purity of platonic love, or any other kind of love.

There are two categories to enter:

Poetry films on the theme of love made for adults

Poetry films on the theme of love made for children (under 12)

Throughout the summer, Southbank Centre’s celebrates the Festival of Love. Our biennial Poetry International festival (17 – 24 July 2014) explores many different themes including the various ways in which love can impact on writers’ lives. Poetry film will be a major part of this year’s Poetry International.

A poetry film can be many different things, as Alastair Cook, Filmmaker and Director of Filmpoem Festival in Dunbar, explains –

‘A poetry film is… a single entwined entity, a melting, a cleaving together of words, sound and vision. It is an attempt to take a poem and present it through a medium that will create a new artwork, separate from the original poem.’


Shot Through the Heart Competition opens: Friday 14 February 2014 at 12noon

Shot Through the Heart Competition closes: Friday 30 May 2014 at 6pm


Southbank Centre is very keen that each submission is seen as a collaborative artwork between poet and filmmaker, so this prize is awarded jointly to the winning poet and filmmaker in each category. Poems must be by living poets and follow the copyright guidance and rules here.

Poetry films made for adults:

• Shortlisted films will be shown in Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, on Friday 18 July 2014 and all shortlisted filmmakers will be invited to the screening. The winner and a runner-up will be announced on the night.

• The winning film will receive £500 to be shared between poet and filmmaker as well as a pair of tickets each to Poetry International’s Gala Reading.

• The runner-up poet and filmmaker will receive a pair of tickets each to Poetry International’s Gala Reading.

Poetry films made for children:

• Shortlisted films will be shown in The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre on Saturday 19 July 2014. The winner and runner-up will be announced on the night.

• The winning children’s film will receive £500 to be shared between poet and filmmaker as well as a pair of tickets each to Poetry International’s Gala Reading.

• The winning film will also be shown in Imagine Children’s Festival 2015 headlining a children’s poetry film event – this is one of our busiest festivals, attracting thousands of audience members every year.

• Both winning films will be shown at 2014’s ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin.

There’s more.