Poetic Collaboration

Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz
November 4, 2014

At the Interlochen Opening Convocation, poetry instructor Francine Harris read a marvelous and moving pair of poems, “Why I Haven’t Written,” and “I Used to Write.” It was through her reading that I was struck with an exciting project to frame my Post-Production class as the Filmmaker-in-Residence in the Motion Picture Arts division: Poetry Videos, or short films that imagine a piece of written poetry. Such an exercise continues Interlochen’s excellent tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration and encourages the filmmaking students to consider the poetics of editing.

Over the course of the semester, my students have been reviewing some fundamentals of written poetry and looking at editing techniques that can capture the rhythms, juxtapositions, visual metaphors, and contemplations of the poetic form.

Students have by now identified poems that they will adapt into short films. They’ve chosen these poems largely from the work of former or current Interlochen students. Over the last couple of weeks, students were asked to snap six photos that capture the rhythms, tones, and tensions they’d like to explore in their films.

As an example, the following six photos were presented by Anna Kotyza. In them, she explores juxtapositions in color and geometries: angular, contained frames as juxtaposed with more open, undefined lines and contours. Her film will explore a young girl’s attempts to escape an illness through her imagination, and her photos perfectly capture these two psychic experiences: the containment of physical weakness and the freedom afforded by imagination.

All of the students’ images were as carefully elaborated. From here, students will finalize scripts for their films, shoot, and edit, applying the editing techniques we’ve been observing and discussing throughout the course.