Review: What is a filmpoem at The Culture Lab

Having never heard of one before, Winifred Hewitt-Wright tells us of the mixed media phenomenon that is a filmpoem.

Winifred Hewitt-Wright
25th October 2017

Having never heard of the term ‘filmpoem’ in my life, I knew my mind was about to be opened to a new world of creativity.

To begin, Kate Sweeney introduced her three films, using three different poems. ‘Hammersmith’ was the first, a black and white moving picture of her own drawings alongside the soft tones of Sean O’Brien. Next, a black and white film of a woman and man playing piano and cello - albeit dramatically - with the written words of the poem flashing in and out of the visual image. Extremely erratic, irregular and surreal, this film took me straight out of my seat and into a world where every detail somehow meant something. The third film incorporated spoken and written poetry with music and moving images – still somehow it worked, and this received the loudest applause.

The venture is of benefit to both parties, bringing a new dimension to the poem and a new audience to the poet.

All the artists, poets and filmmakers, then spoke about the success of the filmpoems, later also touched upon by Alastair Cook who said the venture is of benefit to both parties, bringing a new dimension to the poem and a new audience to the poet. It is his work we saw in the latter part of the event – raw and unpolished films, one even being filmed on an ‘iphone 3g’, but I liked them all the same. I found these moving images extremely emotive to witness and my friend even shed a tear or two at the film ‘After the robins’.

I left the event feeling excited about this modern and innovative mixed media, inspired to create my own. Indeed, as Alastair Cook said, ‘all you need are the things in your pocket’, so, if you are a blossoming creative, get your phone out and start filming!

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