ABOUT WILD WHISPERS
Wild Whispers is an international film poetry project that started with one poem and led to 14 versions in 10 languages and 12 poetry films.
Over the last few years there has been an increasingly intense, international focus on issues of migration, immigration, borders, and freedom of movement. The June 2016 vote by the UK to leave the European Union brought this into focus here. The decision has been both difficult and divisive and has given rise to many, sometimes heated debates about the nature of geographical displacement, belonging, identity, connection and disconnection.
On a personal and creative level, the Wild Whispers project began with an email to a potential collaborator a month before the Brexit vote, as a way to enable creative connections after I moved house. This sudden and unexpected move left me feeling temporarily displaced. So the project came into being as an antidote to the disruptive elements of moving.
The original concept behind the use of film poetry was to investigate issues of translation and adaptation through film poetry and text, to explore collaborative process and to examine ideas about connectivity and disconnection. However, in the face of the unexpected vote to leave Europe and the ensuing political upheaval and unrest, the project seemed to take on a greater sense of urgency and significance. Other issues around the world were reflected in some of the email correspondence I received from various contributors and one in particular stood out:
My own desire to connect was both personal and political and certainly focused on the bigger picture. I am most passionate about film poetry, and consider it to be the perfect vehicle for exciting collaborations and for fostering strong, positive connections between countries and across the world.
One of the initial inspirations behind the Wild Whispers project was a single image of a Buryat Shaman performing a libation – a ritual pouring of liquid, milk or grains, as an offering to the gods or spirits in memory of the dead. I was also writing a vision statement for Elephant’s Footprint and came across an article by visual artist Mary Russell and author Gerard Wozek, the collaborative duo of “Mercury in Motion”. I found we shared a belief that visual and literary art carry spiritual, political, and sociological messages and that visual poetry is a physical manifestation of what it means to be a human being engaged in seeking community, and that the medium of film poetry is intrinsically alchemic—magic.
The call-out to poets, translators and poetry filmmakers to be involved in Wild Whispers has resulted in just that: magic.
The films, in different languages, were all ‘whispered’ from the previous one. The project travelled from England to India, Australia, Taiwan, France, South Africa, the Netherlands, Sweden, Wales and the USA, creating poetry films in English, Malayalam, Chinese, French, Afrikaans, Dutch, American Sign Language, Navajo, Spanish, and Welsh.
UK, October 2018
Country of production: UK
Title: Frog on Water
Filmmaker: Chaucer Cameron/Helen Dewbery
Editor: Helen Dewbery
Country of production: India
Title: Vellatthinu Mukalile Thavala/ Paani Par Mendhak
Filmmaker and editor: Rajesh James
Translators: Malayalam, Jose Varghese. Urdu, Jhilmil Breckenridge
Country of production: Australia
Title: Shadow Lullaby
Filmmaker and editor: Marie Craven
Translator: Candida Baker
Country of production: Taiwan
Filmmaker and editor: Ye Mimi
Translator: Ye Mimi
Country of production: France and Morocco
Title: Une ombre vert mordoré est entrée dans mes yeux
Filmmaker and editor: bobie (Yves Bommenel)
Translator: Marie Laureillard
Country of production: South Africa
Title: ’n Brons-groen skaduwee in my oë
Filmmaker and director: Erentia Bedeker
Editor: Diek Grobler
Translator: Erentia Bedeker
Country of production: The Netherlands
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
Filmmaker and editor: Annelyse Gelman
Translator: Annelyse Gelman / Google Translate
Music: Annelyse Gelman
Country of production: Sweden
Title: La búsqueda
Filmmaker and editor: Eduardo Yagüe
Translator: Cristina Newton
Country of production: U.K.
Filmmaker and editor: Othniel
Translator: Sharon Larkin
Country of production: USA
Title: Sea Change
Filmmaker and editor: Dave Bonta
Translator: Sharon Larkin