A Poetry Film – 18 Years in the making – 8 hours to the screen

Many moons ago I had an extraordinary experience. I left work for the evening and fell into the dive bar, beneath New Wimbledon Theatre, with a friend to try a Mojito, a drink popularised by the James Bond film of the time.

The reason this evening was extraordinary was because I had sitting on one side of me  a group of new age Christians and on the other side some hat wearing poets. The night proceeded to have me switch conversations between matters of faith and matters of rhyme.

Over the next few months there was the opportunity to see religion made glam as it was conducted with pomp and majesty, during the down time on a London stage which was used to hosting successful long running musicals. Within the same time period it was also an opportunity to hangout and meet poets, musicians and filmmakers in happenings, in an arcane arcade or private view at a gallery.

My Poetry Film – Walking is…

One of the poets from that night was the founder of Poetry Film, Zata Banks. She was great to talk to and at facilitating scenarios to network with some beautiful and creative people. 

The idea of Poetry Film (https://poetryfilm.org/) she left open to interpretation. A poem could be filmed, a film could be made poetic and none of the above could apply but it needed to be made so it could be screened.

 I had the opportunity to go to a few screenings she organised in venues like the Deptford Picturehouse, Tate Britain or the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts). This was a wonderful thing to find yourself in cinemas and screening rooms seeing the creative and experimental offerings of the talent all sat within the very same room. It was also nice to slip into rooms that seem exclusive to the elite and feel very much part of something.

I often felt I should, being a keen writer of poetry daily on my commute and a film lover, and participant in my filmmaker friends ventures, make something to submit to an evening.

This never happened and though I had formulated a plan in one of my sketchbooks it never came to fruition.

 A chance LinkedIn message congratulating me on time served with an architecture firm sparked up a conversation with Zata. She still showed an enthusiasm to see a film from me. 

Although I had missed the essential years of growth and success that Poetry Film went onto, it was nice to be remembered. So I finally made a Poetry Film.

Filmed on a mobile phone, edited on free software and poetry written on the fly whilst assembling the footage, which was shot over a few weekends and a night. It felt that the technology and my maturity was there to rise to the challenge.

The film was based around the 10000 step walks I have been taking over the last few years to keep me active and healthy. They are great opportunities to take in your surroundings or listen to music or a podcast. The mind can be both fertile or still whilst putting one foot in front of the other.

The film takes the contrasting environments I walk in to create a poetic balance and rhythm. A way to convey what it looks like when I walk. What can be seen, what can be heard and what thoughts play through my mind.

The process fits into the ethos of a brand that I have created called “i AM SM1”. It is about pride in my locality but also about ‘a can do, must do, attitude’. For me this is to create. Make a film, edit a film wack it up on YouTube. You have made a film. Art for art’s sake the means to produce are in our pockets so why not use them?!

I just did it so why shouldn’t you?!

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