Videopoetry and feminism: an interview with Penny Florence and Sarah Tremlett

The first five minutes of the October 14 ScreenSister podcast features an interview with radical filmmaker Penny Florence and Sarah Tremlett of Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival, recorded during the festival.

I loved this bit from Florence:

[The screening Tremlett curated] was a revelation for me, actually, because I’d been plowing a lonely furrow on my own for quite a long time until I got involved in digital poetry. Digital poetry seems to me to be really important because, just by the possibility to work digitally, it changes what poetry is.

I find this very exciting in feminist terms, because feminism, importantly, has to find ways of saying things that have not been said before, of making silence speak.

The interviewer asks if digital poetry is a medium that suits women in particular. Florence responds:

Yes I do. And I think it’s much more interesting than some of the ways in which we used to understand working collectively. The individual voice got subordinated. And in art that won’t do.

I like the stress they put on the unique accessibility of videopoetry and other digital media to a wider field of contributors, including young people in workshops and other new filmmakers. This certainly jibes with my own experience and observations. While there will of course always be room for highly professional filmmakers, at this stage they don’t yet dominate the field — and may never, given the continual progress of media creation tools toward user-friendliness.

As Tremlett says, you can check out the Liberated Words account on Vimeo and the Liberated Words website for growing archives of films and videos screened at the Bristol-based festival.

Dave Bonta

Dave is the founder of Moving Poems, and posts videos for his own poems (along with lots of other stuff) at Via Negativa. Here's a bio.

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