The Visible Poetry Project was founded in 2017 with the goal of bringing together a collective of filmmakers to create a series of videos that present poems as short films. Drawing from works created by renowned poets, including Neil Gaiman and Tato Laviera, as well as emerging poets, the Visible Poetry Project strives to make poetry accessible, exploring how we can recreate and experience poems through the medium of film.
The project seeks to foster interdisciplinary creative communities — to combine complementary mediums to give rise to a new form and encourage filmmakers and poets alike to reimagine the language they use when creating art. Throughout the month of April 2020 – National Poetry Month – Visible Poetry Project will release one visual poem each day.
What Is It About?
An exercise in translation and a reclamation of both poetic and film discourses, the film will explore how we read, interpret, visualize, and hear poetry. The poem, The Weeds in this Garden, is a protest against the false narratives of womanhood and femininity that inundate women all throughout their lives.
The poet and filmmaker involved in the visible poetry project are women at very different stages of their life — one is a mother and a grandmother, in the latter half of her career while the other has just begun her adult life, looking towards career and domestic expectations of herself. The project speaks to the solidarity of womanhood, as both women identify with the struggle of having ready-made identities pushed upon them by not only society at large, but their own family, friends, and romantic partners.
The film is an examination of the long-lasting effects of these false narratives and is a sagging sigh from a lifetime of fighting and battling to be seen and heard for what we are. It seeks to capture the exhaustion and tender, worn-out souls of those who have had to defend themselves on so many strata (social, cultural, political) for so long. It begs the question — Do women truly get to live or do they merely survive these tattered lores of who they are, who they should be, and who they were meant to be but never quite became?
Meet the Team
Director / GRACE KIM is a Brooklyn-based, Korean-American filmmaker and writer who uses absurdist and surrealist premises in pursuit of finding unique expressions of common human experiences. She currently works as a freelance producer for Eight Design Studio and on staff at New York Women in Film and Television. To date, Grace has written and directed four short films, as well as having produced a myriad of other narrative and commercial projects. Grace’s script for her 2018 short film Loveseat was a quarterfinalist for the Screen Craft Short Film Fund, and her script One-handed Cartwheel was a finalist for the Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival Script Studio. Currently, she is in development for an animated TV series with producer Petria Seymour nee Wheelan attached. The series is currently in the second round for the Sundance Episodic Lab. She is deeply committed to her independent film communities and practices her craft through Filmshop, Brooklyn Film Collective Writers, Sandbox, and is on the programming committees for Asian American International Film Festival and Revolution Me Film Festival. Click name for portfolio.
Poet / Twice a pushcart nominee, KARI GUNTER-SEYMOUR blames her method of writing on the rich Ohio soil and her wildly eclectic family and neighbors . Her chapbook Serving was a runner up in the 2016 Yellow Chair Review Annual Chapbook Contest. Her poems can be found in many fine journals and publications including “Rattle,” “Crab Orchard Review,” “Main Street Rag,” “The American Journal of Poetry,” “The LA Times”. She is an Instructor in the School of Journalism at Ohio University and is the Poet Laureate for Athens, Ohio. Kari is the founder/curator of the “Women of Appalachia Project,” an arts organization that addresses discrimination directed at women from the Appalachian region. She is the managing editor and designer of the Women of Appalachia Project’s “Women Speak” chapbook series. Click name for portfolio.
Cinematographer / DIANA MATOS is an award-winning cinematographer and Local 600 Camera Operator. Recently, she was the cinematographer of the New York unit of The Farewell, starring Awkwafina, which premiered at Sundance and is distributed by A24. Her other credits include: The Good Fight, The Amazing Spider Man, A Most Violent Year, The Bourne Legacy, Winter’s Tale, The Other Woman, Annie and Ricki and the Flash. Prior to working on set, she was a technician at Panavision New York, then moved on to working in the camera department alongside top cinematographers who provided mentorship, such as Bradford Young, ASC and Matthew Libatique, ASC. She has shot ARRI Alexa, Super 35mm film, S16mm, RED Weapon, HDCAM, and HDV on several films, including the award-winning films, The Farewell, Clams Casino, and SURE-FIRE. She is of Nicaraguan and Puerto Rican decent and is on the road to being a leading female cinematographer. Click name for portfolio.
Animator / DIANA LIU is a visual storyteller through animation and illustration. She studied illustration and concept design at Art Center College of Design before finding her way to animation. Born in China and raised in LA, she moved to NYC 5 years ago and is currently based in Brooklyn. She is the lead animator for The Weeds in this Garden. Click name for portfolio.
Impact / Why We Need Your Help
The Weeds in this Garden is a “passion project” in all aspects. Though the pairing of filmmakers and poets is supported by the Visible Poetry Project, VPP offers no production assistance for the creation of the films — thereby leaving it up to the resources and volition of the filmmakers to complete the project.
The purposes of this project is purely for the sake of posing questions about art and expanding the artists’ understanding of form. It is a project that facilitates challenging and building upon one’s craft and cinematic language. The film is not a commercially viable project, nor does it have the resources of one. In an industry where success and impact is often measured by box-office numbers, it is up to the individual artists and film communities to foster and enable these kinds of creative exercises that serve no for-profit motive but exist simply to serve the craft. The Weeds in this Garden relies on the support of independent filmmakers, film institutions, and film lovers to come into fruition.
Through our fiscal sponsorship through NYWIFT, we’re proud to say that all contributions to the film will qualify as tax-deductible donations. We’re grateful for the opportunity to pursue this project and are confident not only in our creative growth through this project but also in the film’s contribution to the dialogue around film, poetry, and visual language. We greatly appreciate your aid and commitment to empowering women in the arts.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS
Robin M Mullett