New poetry films to premiere at free screening May 22 at Walker Art Center
Minneapolis-based nonprofit Motionpoems, Inc., the world’s only poetry film company, will premiere its fifth season of new commissioned short film adaptations of contemporary poems at the Walker Art Center on Thursday, May 22. The annual premiere screening, emceed by Motionpoems’ founding Executive and Artistic Director Todd Boss and MPR “movie maven” Stephanie Curtis, offers audiences a rare glimpse at a wide range of bold examples of this new hybrid form. Several featured poets and filmmakers will be in attendance. The event is free.
The films, in a mix of styles including live-action, documentary, cross-disciplinary, and animated, will range among poems lyrical, narrative, absurd, and experimental. There’s a poem by prominent Uruguayan poet Circe Maia translated from the Spanish, and a poem for kids by current U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt. Several films have been developed by lead artists whose primary medium is not film, like Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard and installation artist Evan Holm.
Season 5 has been overseen by Egg Creative, Jennifer David, and associate producer Lisa McGuire (both of Minneapolis). “It’s a dream team,” says Boss, “and the result is explosive work. You will be moved.”
“Taking the reins as Motionpoems’ production manager this year, our goal was no less than to recruit some of the most creative filmmakers in the world.,” says Egg Creative's EP Eric Fawcett, citing filmmakers from leading international production companies, like Psyop, MPC, The Mill, Hello Stranger and others. “Motionpoems provides filmmakers with a rare opportunity to unbridle their talents and make amazing fine art within an existing supportive structure.”
Poetry was provided by partnering publishers Alaska Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, The Believer, Best American Poetry 2013, Copper Canyon Press, Graywolf Press, The Iowa Review, Milkweed Editions, The Poetry Foundation, and Tin House. As of press time, the program on May 22 will include 18 films.
Motionpoems, Inc., was co-founded in 2008 by poet Boss (St. Paul) and animator Angella Kassube (Minneapolis), whose collaborative films inspired them to begin pairing poets and filmmakers. Motionpoems commissions and produces 12+ new films each year, premiering them annually at the Walker and releasing them monthly at their website. Besides its regular season, Motionpoems also produces large-scale public art installations, including “Arrivals and Departures at St. Paul’s Union Depot,” now in production, in which new locally-sourced poetry films will be projected onto the colossal screen-filled façade of St. Paul’s Union Depot during the St. Paul Art Crawl in October.
In recent months, Forbes has called the company’s films “astonishing, powerful, and hilarious,” and the company was featured in a “Trends” article in Poets & Writers magazine. Far from straight-up poetry readings, the company’s films are fully imagined screen adaptations of poems, over which filmmakers are offered complete creative control. The company has produced 50+ films to date by Pulitzer-winning and early-career poets alike, by some of America’s most talented filmmakers and production companies.
WHAT: World premiere of 18 (or more!) new Season 5 poetry shorts
WHEN: May 22, 6:30 and 8pm (identical screenings)—a Target Free Thursday
WHERE: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis