The first idea for this subject was filmed in 2018, but the poem didn't 'arrive' in my mind until earlier this year. Sometimes, I think you just have to wait! It has had its first screening as part of LYRA poetry festival, Bristol on 3 April, when I screened the finalists of the first edition of The Frame to Frames: Your Eyes Follow ekphrastic poetry film prize. Of course my own film wasn't part of the competition! Helen Dewbery of Poetry Film Live curated a screening under the festival theme of 'Breaking Boundaries: New Worlds. This, in many ways is a follow-up to Selfie with Marilyn, being a performative poetry film, but it has a strong message for all women suffering abuse. Here is the synopsis:
Villanelle for Elizabeth not Ophelia
Shakespeare’s male-dominated Ophelia in Hamlet committed suicide by drowning. This film is a warning address to all women but directed at Elizabeth Siddall, known for playing Ophelia in the famous Pre-Raphaelite painting by John Everett Millais. Life imitated art, since Elizabeth caught pneumonia whilst posing in a cold bath for the picture, and was also dominated by her unfaithful and controlling husband Dante Gabriel Rossetti, causing her to also commit suicide. Parallels can be made to today’s actresses and Harvey Weinstein, Me Too, and suicide from domestic abuse. In the UK alone ‘200 women take their own lives every year, and nearly 30 women attempt to complete suicide every single day due to domestic abuse’. Through a positive re-enactment of the painting, this film aims to bring hope, rewriting Elizabeth’s fate and the fate of all women facing such distressing thoughts. Here is the English version vimeo.com/703270378 and I am also linking to the Spanish version
Villanelle para Elizabeth, no para Ofelia
La Ofelia dominada por hombres en el Hamlet de Shakespeare se suicidó ahogándose. Esta película es una advertencia para todas las mujeres, pero dirigida a Elizabeth Siddall, conocida por interpretar a Ofelia en la famosa pintura prerrafaelita de John Everett Millais. La vida imitaba al arte, ya que Elizabeth contrajo una neumonía mientras posaba en un baño frío para la pintura, y también fue dominada por su infiel y controlador esposo Dante Gabriel Rossetti, lo que provocó que ella también se acabara suicidando. Se pueden hacer paralelismos con las actrices de hoy y Harvey Weinstein, el movimiento Me Too y el suicidio por violencia de género. Solo en el Reino Unido, ‘200 mujeres se quitan la vida cada año, y casi 30 mujeres intentan suicidarse todos los días debido a la violencia de género. A través de una recreación positiva de la pintura, esta película tiene como objetivo aportar esperanza, reescribiendo el destino de Elizabeth y el destino de todas las mujeres que enfrentan pensamientos tan angustiosos.
So pleased to have Firewash in ZEBRA this year with both my poem and film included. It will be screened on Friday 26th as part of the Nature section. Thank You!
Selfie with Marilyn wins Maldito video poetry festival in Albacete, Spain! I am over the moon and very surprised, so thank you to Javier and everyone at the festival for this really lovely honour, and of course The Visible Poetry Project who produced the film as part of their annual April poetry month screening, and enabled me to connect up with Heidi. It goes without saying – a big thank you to the incisive, poignant and brave poet Heidi Seaborn, and performance artist Hatti Rees my daughter who played Marilyn, and Georgi Rees who took the true-to-life stills of Hatti as Norma Jeane. The poem is from the prize-winning An Insomniac's Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe, Pank Books, and apparently I have read recently that Marilyn was an amateur poet! Essentially, the film shows Marilyn learning the lines of the poem, and talking to her younger self, really reminiscing from a much more jaded place. S
Since the news SO many lovely comments flowering so I will pick them and plant them here as soon as I can. In the meantime here is the film – enjoy the bitter sweet pathos of Hatti's performance and Heidi's emotive words.
Really great interview at Artlitlab. Thanks so much Genia!!!
An in-depth account of making the film is also at Liberated Words.
Click to set custom
Dadaist bike ride, swallowing flies and being part of the world’s ecosystem.
Poet: Caleb Parkin
Director, editor and selection of footage (2019) and music: Sarah Tremlett
Music: ‘Isaac the Syrian’ courtesy The Anchorites
Footage: ‘How the Fires of our Body are Fed’ Maurice Ricker, 1926 – Prelinger Archives; Yevgen Rychko, Erstudio5 – pond5.com; Miguel A. Padrinan – Pexels.com; Oleh Slepchenko – istockphoto.com. All under Creative Commons licence.
I first encountered i swallow when Caleb Parkin (now Bristol City Poet 2020) sent it to me to make a poetry film. That was in July 2019. Working on other things, time elapsed, but in November 2019 I found the perfect footage for the film – ‘How the Fires of our Body are Fed’. I was finishing a large reference work on poetry film The Poetics of Poetry Film (Intellect Books) and so only finished the film in July 2020. But then the film came together pretty quickly! I love Caleb’s visceral, visually evocative language that concerns itself with deep issues - crises within society and our ecosystem. I also echo the idea of turning the spotlight on insects and other forms of what have been termed ‘lesser life’ beyond the human. I was also very lucky to find the unique sound of the ‘postmodern’ band The Anchorites and will definitely work with them again.
A conversation on a night bus in the UK. Set against the dawn sky, a refugee attempts to forget the memories that he has left behind, and value love and the relative safety of his new life. The fourth in the series of poetry films on light and time, with Mr Sky, Solstice Sol Invictus and Summer Solstice.
Night Bus was premiered at the windswept, inspiring and unforgettable North Cornwall Book Festival (centred around the ancient church of St Endellion which apparently, according to poet Sir John Betjeman CBE, keeps praying when the congregation have left). It was part of the Uprooted screening, which features films on the refugee crisis: set in war zones, in transition and building a new life in a strange country. Many thanks to the festival creator, talented novelist craftsman Patrick Gale for having the vision to host the screening. He not only constructs fine details within the pages of a book, but also made sure that every aspect of the event was memorable for everyone: audience, writers, artists and musicians alike.
Text and Camera: Sarah Tremlett
Director: Sarah Tremlett
Editor: James Symonds
Sound Design: Sarah Tremlett
Music: ‘Time is Running Out’ Andrew Kn; ‘Dawn Chorus’ tdes; ‘Ambience Light Grey’ A Deathy; all freesound.org under Creative Commons Licence.
The highs and lows of being in love. A teenage girl is left by her cello-playing boyfriend and her world temporarily falls apart.
Claire Climbs Everest was a commission from Alastair Cook of Filmpoem, to make a poetry film for one of The Poetry Society's commended poems in the National Poetry Competition 2016.
I set out to work to a loosely applied, more traditional, three-act structure in this poetry film, rather than a free-flowing, dream-like or conceptual narrative. I did not want to begin with Claire as already abandoned by her boyfriend but catch her still 'in' love - in a Chagall-esque scenario that I had wanted to use for some time, and was realised by the talented, multimedia editor Howard Vause. I also managed to use crosses as both symbolising love and error - another theme I had wanted to transfer from my print series to incorporate in poetry films. Love and error keep slipping and sliding and the cross bears a different meaning depending on your point of view.
As the ex-boyfriend in the poem was a cellist I took the opportunity to select different types of cello music to reflect the emotional structure, or perhaps make the structure - music is a big part of this poetry film, and also my work in general.
I am not only indebted to American poet Sam Harvey for such a subtle and finely crafted poem on such a raw subject, but the pace of Sam's voice really counterpoints what is happening on screen.
Thanks to Alastair Cook for pairing us up - no mean feat!
Poet: Sam Harvey
Director, cinematographer, creative concept: Sarah Tremlett
Editor: Howard Vause
Claire: Georgina Rees
Cello-playing boyfriend: Sam Warner
Inspiring Cello Baszzz
Cello music in Gregorian style The Montana Cellist
Post-War Peder B Helland
Claire's dress: Hatti
With thanks to tube busker
Sarah Tremlett director, poet, filmmaker, concept, sound
Georgie Rees cast / herself
James Symonds / Sarah Tremlett editing
You watch daughters grow up, learning the steps, mastering or faltering but also praying no one will crush their independent spirits. This film is about the camera as a mirror, a tap class and makeup. But mainly it merges two time frames: when my daughter was young, less self aware and as a teenager/ young woman, and how as a mother these memories intertwine. The poem switches between these time frames, whilst my daughter uses the camera as a surrogate mirror (not a mobile phone here) so quite a skill (!) and is also pictured attracting my attention through the camera all those years ago.
A haiku poem film to Bath - a city of two sides: the hot bubbling, magical spring and the cold, fast-flowing river. Travellers from around the world throw money into the lucky water as they have done for thousands of years. Premiered at TARP audiovisual festival Vilnius, Lithuania, 2015; part of the zenzonepoemfilm project.
Tourists with cameras form patterns in slowed down sound and vision as dialogue taken from the same location at a different time becomes dialogue prose poetry. A contemplative poem film part of the zenzonepoemfilm project.
Contemplative Poem Film, part of the zenzonepoemfilm project. De/rematerialising concrete poetry meets spoken and visual verse. The coloured bands are determined by the pattern of the lines and the elemental aspects of sun and water seemed to convey to me the spare emotional journey of the Middle Eastern music.