Wild Whispers Project

Ye Mimi_still_2Wild Whispers International Film Poetry Project




Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery made the first film in the Wild Whispers project. The project explores the concept of adaptation and collaboration through poetry film, by sending a poetry film across the world, which was then re-created into a new poetry film and passed on. The films, in different languages, were all ‘whispered’ from the previous one. The aim was to trace how poetry film crosses language and cultures.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

elephant logo

The project travelled from the U.K. to India, Australia, Taiwan, France, South Africa, the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.S.A., creating poetry films in English, Malaylam, Chinese, French, Affrikaans, Dutch, American Sign Language, Navajo, Spanish, and Welsh.

Wild Whispers first port of call from the UK was India, before going on to Australia and then Taiwan. In Taiwan, the poetry filmmaker and artist Ye Mimi, invited 55 strangers in the park to read the Chinese version, their facial expressions, eyes, voice, and gestures all interpreting the poem. There are humorous moments when the handwritten poem led to unintentional phrases.

In France, the narrator creates a whispering fairytale-like soundtrack to the idea that ‘generation after generation, children vanish, replaced by adults who vanish at their turn…’.

The Afrikaans version juxtaposes the industrial world of the city with nature. The narrator yearns to be close to nature and mourns the separation from their roots.

In New Mexico, the poetry film combines native American Navajo and American Sign Language, showcasing the resistance of the Native American peoples against centuries of cultural genocide, settler colonialism and violence. Also drawing a parallel between the sufferings of Native Americans with refugees from countries such as Syria, Myanmar, Central African Republic, El Salvador and Guatemala.

In Sweden the poem took on the issues of faith, love, suffering and death. Of being lost and confused in an ultra technical world that has created confusion and solitude.

The project has also highlighted the challenges, and richness, of translation for poetry film. In India the translator was given the poem in Malayalam to translate into Urdu. As Malayalam is a highly Sanskritized language, she first had to translate it into Hindi and then from Hindi to Urdu before being translated in Australia into English.

Whereas, the text.doc approach used elsewhere was an attempt to translate the poem into abstract digital field recordings by using Google Translate to create a chain of translations from English into every available language, described as ‘working with a software collaborator that can produce, but not understand, language”.

A printed guide to accompany the screening will be available.

Country of production: UK
Language: English
Title: Frog on Water
Filmmaker: Chaucer Cameron/Helen Dewbery
Editor: Helen Dewbery

Country of production: India
Language: Malayalam/Urdu
Title: Vellatthinu Mukalile Thavala/ Paani Par Mendhak
Filmmaker and editor: Rajesh James
Translators: Malayalam, Jose Varghese. Urdu, Jhilmil Breckenridge

Country of production: Australia
Language: English
Title: Shadow Lullaby
Filmmaker and editor: Marie Craven
Translator: Candida Baker

Country of production: Taiwan
Language: Chinese
Title: 綠金色的陰影躍進我的眼睛
Filmmaker and editor: Ye Mimi
Translator: Ye Mimi

Country of production: France and Morocco
Language: French
Title: Une ombre vert mordoré est entrée dans mes yeux
Filmmaker and editor: bobie (Yves Bommenel)
Translator: Marie Laureillard

Country of production: South Africa
Language: Afrikaans
Title: ’n Brons-groen skaduwee in my oë
Filmmaker and director: Erentia Bedeker
Editor: Diek Grobler
Translator: Erentia Bedeker

Country of production: The Netherlands
Language: Dutch
Title: In het woud
Filmmaker and director: Judith Dekker
Translator: Judith Dekker

Country and place of production: New Mexico, USA
Language: Navajo, American Sign Language, and English
Title: Wild Whispers: New Mexico
Filmmaker and editor: Sabina England
Translator: Meryl Van Der Bergh (from Afrikaans to English rough translation), World Translation Center for Navajo, Sabina England for American Sign Language and improved English prose.

Country and place of production: Berlin, Germany & Austin, Texas
Language: English
Title: frog_poem_text.doc
Filmmaker and editor: Annelyse Gelman
Translator: Annelyse Gelman / Google Translate
Music: Annelyse Gelman

Country of production: Sweden
Language: Spanish
Title: La búsqueda
Filmmaker and editor: Eduardo Yagüe
Translator: Cristina Newton

Country of production: U.K.
Language: Welsh
Title: Chwiliad
Filmmaker and editor: Othniel
Translator: Sharon Larkin

Country of production: USA
Language: English
Title: Sea Change
Filmmaker and editor: Dave Bonta
Translator: Sharon Larkin