Visual Verse celebrates artists who use film and video to create work based on short stories and documentaries about writers or films which revolve around poetry. After presenting work by four leading literary filmmakers — Ram Devineni, John Scott, Cheryl Gross, and Immy Humes — a discussion will be moderated by Rachael Rakes, film editor for The Brooklyn Rail. That’s coming up this Thursday evening. The location is 52 Prince St, New York, New York. For more details, see the McNally Jackson bookstore website.
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Ó Bhéal (Irish for by word of mouth) is a weekly poetry event in Cork which, since 2010, has also been sponsoring an annual screening of poetry films and videopoems from around the world. This year they’re taking it to the next level, associating with the IndieCork festival of independent cinema in October and holding a poetry-film competition. View the complete guidelines at their website. Here’s the meat of it:
We are now open for submissions. Thirty films will be shortlisted and screened during the IndieCork festival. One winner will be selected by the Ó Bhéal jury.
Deadline for submissions is the 15th of September 2013.
Entry is free to anyone, and should be made via email to poetryfilm [at] obheal.ie – including the following in an attached word document:
- Name and duration of Film
- Name of director
- Country of origin
- Contact details
- Name of Poet
- Name of Poem
- Filmmaker biography
- and a Link to download a high-resolution version of the film.
Films must interpret or be based on a poem, and have been completed no earlier than the 1st August 2011. They may not exceed 10 minutes in duration. Non-English language films will require subtitles.
This month in her Third Form column at Connotation Press, Erica Goss presents “nine poetry films using the following criteria: first, the native language of the poet or filmmaker had to be the language used in narration, and second, the country of the poet or filmmaker had to be prominent in the video.” Her choices are all films I remember with fondness, and it’s interesting to see them presented side by side. I’ve shared so many videopoems at Moving Poems now, it’s easy to lose track of the outstanding ones, so further acts of curation like Erica’s are invaluable. Go look.
McNally Jackson Bookstore in NYC is holding an event on May 23rd celebrating literary filmmakers. We’re looking to assemble a panel of film/video artists who specialize in poetry films, films based on short stories or documentaries about writers or the writing process. The night will be moderated by Rachel Rakes, film editor at the Brooklyn Rail. If you’re a filmmaker whose work falls into any of these categories and would like to showcase it at the event, don’t hesitate to contact us. Send any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new videopoetry festival is planned for Bristol, UK in October. The deadline for submissions is June 30th.
Festival organisers Sarah Tremlett and Lucy English in conjunction with Colin Brown of Poetry Can welcome videopoems of 3 minutes or less to be screened at Liberated Words poetry film festival, as part of Bristol Poetry Festival, October 2013.
There are two separate categories for this year’s inaugural festival:
Four by Four
Videopoems of three minutes or less are invited as a response to a printed poem by four poets.
The poets and poems are:
Philip Gross: Heaps
Lucy English: from ‘Take Me to the City’
Jo Bell: The Shipwright’s Love Song
Johnny Fluffypunk: Bill Blake’s Birthday Cake for Adrian Mitchell
Winning entries of each poem will be screened as the highlight of the festival at the Arnolfini, Bristol.
Liberated Words II
We are also inviting videopoetry makers to submit 3 minutes of their most recent work broadly supporting the theme of ‘liberated words’.
The selected poetry films will be shown at a Liberated Words II screening at the Arnolfini Bristol.
See the announcement post for background and other information.
Via their email newsletter, I just learned about two upcoming events from Motionpoems in Minneapolis/St. Paul: a double screening of a dozen new poetry films on April 24th, and a screening of poetry films by Minnesota authors on April 29th. The full details are currently posted at http://www.motionpoems.com, though for archival purposes, let me also link directly to the image file.
I’m sure Angella and Todd will eventually post their 2013 films to Vimeo, probably one a month as they have in the past, but if you’re anxious to see them all now and on the big screen, then clearly you need to get to the world premiere screenings on April 24th!
I love the idea of a trailer for a poetry film festival: it makes poetry seem so exciting! (Which, to a poetry nerd like me, it actually is.) More than that, I love this particular trailer for The Body Electric from R.W. Perkins:
It helps that the dude in the Muybridge animation looks very much like Walt Whitman (“I sing the body electric”).
The trailer has been working well for TBE, I’ve met many people interested in the idea of a poetry film festival but don’t really know what that means. The trailer has really helped move that conversation along.
Based in New York and Philadelphia, El Aleph Press aims to produce “hand-bound editions of poetry, short stories, and artistic graphic novels,” but despite this emphasis on artisanal print publication, for their first anthology they are open to digital submissions of short film and interactive media as well as poetry, fiction, art, comics, and reviews. Here are the guidelines.
(Thanks to Martha McCollough for the heads-up. See also our full list of journals where videopoets can submit work.)
If you’ve ever wanted to start your own video hosting site, it’s about to get easier. WordPress 3.6, currently in beta and due out soon, supports video and audio in core — it’s no longer necessary to use a plugin to generate media players for files uploaded to one’s own or another site.
At the core of the experience is the fantastic library, MediaElement.js. MediaElement is the facade layer that gives us maximum file support and cross-browser compatibility. While some libraries require a Flash-only solution to make your media work cross-environment, MediaElement lets you use HTML5 audio / video tags in every browser, and, only when necessary, will use a Flash or Silverlight plugin in the background to make incompatible media work. [...]
MediaElement uses the same HTML markup, regardless of playback implementation, and you can use CSS to skin the players.
This provides a great deal of security for publishers, who will no longer have to rely on someone keeping an essential plugin updated. I would caution however that this new ease of use should not lure cash-strapped bloggers on cheap, shared hosting accounts (ahem, like me) to think that they can become the next Poetry Visualized. Hosting and reliably streaming a lot of videos, or videos that become too popular, will remain a high-resource enterprise. But for bigger organizations and institutions who want to retain full control of branding, and whose editorial staff aren’t highly tech-y, it should make video hosting a bit easier. Another use-case I can think of is the video artist who wants to share her work only on her own site and prevent others from embedding it, something that requires a paid membership at Vimeo.
In general, I think YouTube and Vimeo will remain preferable for most filmmakers and videopoets (and embedding such third-party videos in WordPress posts couldn’t be easier with the oEmbed functionality they added a couple of years ago), but it’s good to have this option in case the corporations decide to screw us.
Could you help me out with an appropriation dilemma? How are artists using recordings of poets like Plath and Oliver in their videos without being illegitimate? Is there a place where these poems are free to grab and use?
I’m a filmmaker/poet and wanted to create cinepoems with the words of famous poets, but I ran into copyright infringement. Yikes. I’d love to know more about it though, because I think it’s important for filmmakers to share poets’ work in a new way.
I asked Annie’s permission to share her question here. My off-the-cuff response was that if we’re not getting permission from the copyright holders, we are leaving themselves open to being sued for copyright infringement. (Or at least getting a take-down notice under the DMCA). That said, a liberal interpretation of the Fair Use provision in U.S. copyright law might find that envideoing a poem is sufficiently transformative to pass muster. The Center for Social Media’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video suggests, for example:
Unlike many traditional creator groups, nonprofessional and personal video makers often create and circulate their videos outside the marketplace. Such works, especially if they are circulated within a delimited network, do enjoy certain copyright advantages. Not only are they less likely to attract the attention of rights holders, but if noticed they are more likely to receive special consideration under the fair use doctrine. That said, our goal here is to define the widely accepted contours of fair use that apply with equal force across a range of commercial and noncommercial activities, without regard to how video maker communities’ markets may evolve. Thus, the principles articulated below are rooted squarely in the concept of “transformativeness.”
In fact, a transformative purpose often underlies an individual creator’s investment of substantial time and creative energy in producing a mashup, a personal video, or other new work. Images and sounds can be building blocks for new meaning, just as quotations of written texts can be. Emerging cultural expression deserves recognition for transformative value as much as more established expression.
More professional filmmakers will of course make an effort to contact rights holders. In some cases, they may be asked to pay quite a lot of money. But an even more insurmountable difficulty may be finding out who holds the rights in the case of poets who are long dead and out-of-print. If you’re using a translation, you need permission from both the translator and (I think) the original author. I’ve gotten around that on a couple of occasions by doing my own translations and hoping the poets’ heirs weren’t litigious. (Needless to say, the Fair Use provision only applies to poets who were U.S. citizens.)
Another way out of this dilemma might be to forget about the big names and look for poets who apply Creative Commons licenses to their work (the kind that don’t include the phrase “no derivative works,” abbreviated “ND” in the short form of the license), or simply work with living, web-active poets who are quick to respond and unlikely to ask for money. And of course an ever-growing number of classic poems enter the public domain every year. But fortunately (from my perspective as a reader and viewer) there are good filmmakers with a bit of an outlaw mentality who shoot first and ask questions later. Without them, we might not have any good videopoems for poets like Plath and Oliver.
Have you ever broken copyright to make a filmpoem, cinepoem or videopoem? Are there any circumstances under which you think it might be permissible?