I attended my first Zebra festival in 2012. It was a fantastic experience, and my first time watching poetry films in the theater with other people. As I wrote back then: “Watching poetry films as part of an audience is a new experience for me. Before the festival, I had only watched them at home on my computer, and usually alone. Sitting with other people in a dark theater while a series of intense, image-rich films rolled by on the big screen allowed me to examine them critically; for every film, I asked myself these questions: was it interesting? Did it create an alternative world? Was there a social, cultural, emotional, or intellectual message? Did the video enhance or detract from the poem? Was I startled, amazed, frightened or bored?”
The upcoming Zebra has much to offer. In 2012, the festival’s geographic focus was Poland; this year, it’s Norway. Norwegian poet Øyvind Ribereid will read his poetry with the accompaniment of a live, silent-film organ. In addition, the focus on Norway includes a workshop with the Norwegian small press Gasspedal, poetry films from Norway, and a reading by contemporary Norwegian poets.
The competition has twenty-nine contestants and four prizes. Twelve videos selected for the competition are available to watch now (the first three are from artists I have interviewed for previous columns:)
In the Circus of You, Nicelle Davis and Cheryl Gross.
Photon, Jack Wake-Walker.
Your Memory is my Freedom, Ghayath Almadhoun & Marie Silkeberg.
Byl sobie krol (Once There Was a King), Tytus Majerski.
The Common Room, 13 animators interpret a Talia Randall poem.
Giraffe, Annelyse Gelman & Auden Lincoln-Vogel.
Der längste Kuss (The Longest Kiss), Hubert Sielecki, poem by Gerhard Rühm. (in German)
On Loop, Christine Hooper & Victoria Manifold.
Robin, Yuval & Merav Nathan, poem by Emily Dickinson.
Strategien der Wirtsfindung (Strategies of Host Finding), Brigitta Falkner. (in German)
Tant de forêts, Burcu Sankur & Geoffey Godet (trailer) poem by Jacques Prévert.
Vuosirengas (Tree Ring) (in Finnish), Maria Björklund.
In the general screening category (Prism), the poetry films are grouped as follows: “Parallel Worlds,” “City, Country, Flight,” “Wracking Your Brains,” “Love, Life, Crisis,” “I and You,” “Triadic Dimensions,” and “Sounds of Home.”
There will be a program for children and teachers titled Zebrino. There is a poetry film workshop for children and a poetry film program for families on the weekend, with professional development for teachers.
In the Specials category, Zebra offers lectures and panel discussions. One looks particularly interesting: “Poetry Films in the Digital World,” which includes our very own Dave Bonta, tireless curator of Moving Poems.
I’m thrilled to be part of the Guest section, where I will participate with Marc Neys (Swoon) in an artist’s discussion of our collaborative project, “12 Moons.”
There is a lot more to the festival, four days packed full of workshops, readings, lectures, and the crown jewels: poetry films from all over the world.
A year ago, Nic Sebastian created The Poetry Storehouse a place where poets and audio-visual remixers could share each other’s work. Since then, the Storehouse has become a treasure trove of short films, recordings, and poetry, all free for the creative uses of those who visit. To celebrate its first anniversary, Nic invites the community to participate in the Poetry Storehouse First Anniversary Contest. The deadline for all contest submissions is midnight EST on Monday, October 13, 2014. There are two categories: one for remixers and one for poets. Check out the website for complete details. For more on the Storehouse, read my article.