JAFEST2023 Poetry Film Competition



JAFEST is honoured and moved to screen 34 poetry films in two categories selected out of 81 submissions from 20 countries ranging from New Zealand to the USA on their way to Portugal.

The screenings took place at Cossoul and Casa Fernando Pessoa in Lisbon on April 12, 13 and 15.

APRIL 12 COSSOUL – “Separation & Belonging”


APRIL 13 CASA FERNANDO PESSOA – “Disquiet! Said Pessoa” and “Separation & Belonging”

APRIL 15 JOINT CASA & COSSOUL “Separation & Belonging” Program + winning films in “Disquiet! Said Pessoa” to close the evening


(United Kingdom, 2022) 1 min 50
Film by Helmie Stil
Poem by Rebecca Goss
Soundscape by Lennert Busch
Key cast: Pien Pelgrom, Ava Hartelman

This poetry film is about the transition from being a girl to a woman from the perspective of a mother who wants to protect her daughter but at the same time wanting to let her go. The feeling I got from reading this poem is the shifting from girl to woman, from places, from time, and a tunnel can symbolise that visually.” Helmie Stil (1981) is a Dutch award-winning filmmaker. A graduate of the Utrecht School of Arts, she has been researching, directing and producing her own films since 2006.


(Belgium, 2022) 6 min 30
Poem & Film by Maxime Coton
3D animation by Jamil Mehdaoui
Music by Maxime Coton and Mathilde Lacroix

We are little miracles. Tiny ones, who never stop shedding our skins, over and over. Alone, with no memory of what drove us into this life that jealous people claim is ours. Forgotten, skins fall one after another, like the caresses that—much more so than our cells—create them. These skins are neither ours nor those of others, regardless of the energy that we spend, at night, exchanging them. Maxime Coton (1986) is an award-winning writer and director living and working in Brussels. His multidisciplinary approach led him to create transmedia environments. In his artistic work he aims to find a balance between poetic and political topics.


(Ireland, 2021) 2 min 2
Poem, Film & Music by David Ian Bickley

A short poetic dream film exploring the mythic motif of "The Green Man" in English nature. Using film noir language this work assembles a series of obstacle-like events that play with inner and outer landscapes. Born in Manchester in 1961, David Ian Bickley is an award-winning artist, filmmaker and musician with more than 30 years’ experience working in the fields of the creative arts and media production. Specialising in arts, music and historical travelogue, his credits include The Man Who Shot Beckett, which spearheaded the Beckett 100 season in Ireland. He is also an experienced lecturer and educator in film and media production having taught at Griffith College and St John's College, Cork. He lives in West Cork, Ireland.


(Spain, 2020) 5 min
Film and music by Charles Olsen
Poem by Lilián Pallares
Key cast: Lilián Pallares, her niece Mia Gill and Minnie the cat

The film is dedicated to the poet’s mother Rocio Campo, who passed away the week after filming. The poem itself was inspired by a conversation Lilián had with her niece Mia. The music for the video is a prelude by Clara Schumann which seemed to evoke the rolling of the waves and the melancholy of the poem. “These serendipitous moments, combined with the sentiment in the poem and the shadow of the illness and death of a loved one, made this a particularly emotive project to work on.” Charles Olsen (b. New Zealand, 1969) moved to the UK in 1981 and to Spain in 2003 and has participated and won in various poetry festivals and anthologies. His paintings have been shown in Madrid, Barcelona, Oporto, Paris, Wellington, and the Saatchi Gallery, London.


(New Zealand, 2021), 3 min 21
Film by April Lampre
Poem “I want to love you in analogue” by Paula Harris
Key cast: Jen Francisco

…and I just want to love you. A film about the melancholic yearning to love someone. “I felt that the poem was truly about longing for another person to make your life better, to improve it in some way, but there was also a melancholy there where the words were pointing out that this probably won’t happen. Plus, the words are quite descriptive and I saw the possibility of making this film very visual, experimental and ‘arty’”. - April Lampre. April began her film career as a script supervisor on a variety of films that would later make it into festivals such as the Cannes Short Film Corner and Melbourne International Film Festival. April has an interest in making films about human and societal issues and challenging stereotypes.


(New Zealand, 2022) 3 min 26
Film by Kieran Charnock
Poem by Paula Harris
Cast: Stevie Hancox-Monk, Elle Wootton

This will not end well... A poet forewarns their next lover of what lies ahead. “I was drawn to exploring this poem with people, video, and music, because I had just recently come out of a long-term partnership. The rhythm of relationships was weighing heavy on my mind. I was captivated by the clashing of emotion within the poem. I like how the pessimistic view of a lasting partnership is ultimately challenged by the idea of giving oneself, wholly, to the present moment.” - Kieran Charnock.                   Kieran Charnock is a person. As a person, Kieran likes to listen to people and to watch them do and feel things... he really likes imagining things... he lives in a house on a hill in Brooklyn. He enjoys walking around, learning new things, and practicing being in the present moment.


(France, 2022) 90 sec
Poem and Film by bobie

“With age, nostalgia becomes more present. We look back on the past with a sentimentality in which the reality of the facts fades into the background and the idealization of our memories. In just 90 seconds, the space of a flashback, of a waking dream, I wanted to explore these contradictory feelings in the rear-view mirror. I discovered that I belong to the 90's. Like a time traveler, sometimes the 2020's aren't really my time."» - Yves «bobie» Bommenel. Born in April 1969, I've done radio shows, organized festivals, edited magazines, created a design studio and a micro-publishing house, etc. Whatever the case is, poetry remains my path. From my media experience, I have a strong taste for short forms, whether text, music, or video. My video poems were presented at about thirty international festivals.


(United Arab Emirates, 2019), 3 min 41
Poem and Film by Maryam Imogen Ghouth
Inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche

The Journey of Becoming is a series of three philosophical poetry films describing the fears, struggles and rewards of stepping away from the trodden path to follow one’s higher calling. Part one of the series, Autonomy, laments the societal rejection we may face in the pursuit of our dreams. Maryam Imogen Ghouth lives in the leafy suburbs of Dubai, where she publishes poetry as written pieces, recorded tracks, and poetry films. She often works in collaboration with up-and-coming musicians and directors to fuse their art with her voice and words. Her recorded poems have been featured in short films such as "Under the Sun," which premiered worldwide, and her written poems have appeared in several international literary publications, including Last Leaves, The Poet Anthology, and inScribe.


(United Kingdom, 2023), 5 min
Poem and Film by Jessie Currie
Cast: Jessie Currie and Merryn Lawrence

‘Cusp’ is the story of a brave young girl, walking into the cold of a waterfall, and the clumsy fear of an adult, stepping out in front of an audience for the first time. If only adults could rediscover the courage and carefree attitude of their youth, and throw away the fear that is holding them back! Jessie Currie is a filmmaker and passionate advocate for the neurodivergent and home educating communities. “I have been learning from my children, from their ability to see beauty in small things. My recent films have been mainly self-shot. With this film I want to increase attention to detail by collaborating with an experienced DOP. I would like to create films that are quietly political, urging viewers to leave behind their materialist obsessions and find joy in nature and life.”


(USA, 2023) 5 min 47
Poem and Film by Kym McDaniel
Choreography, movement and key cast: Elisabeth O’Keefe Roskopf

Different water worlds - sea, snow, tears, bodies - collide as grief is poetically explored through movement and landscape. Kym McDaniel: “I am an experimental filmmaker, choreographer and performer. I am mainly interested in using movement and gesture to explore the vulnerability of living in a sick and disabled body. I began filmmaking after a head injury in my early 20s prevented me from pursuing dance as a formal performance career. My films are rooted in personal and reference experimental cinema, dance film, and narrative storytelling.»


(Ireland, 2022), 5 min
Poem and Film by Pat Boran

Despite concerns in some communities, immigration brings many benefits to the host society – introducing new energy, new talent, and new perspectives, all the time adding to our shared understanding of the world and what it means to be human. Pat Boran is a well-known Irish poet who, since Covid, has been making short poetry films, often also composing and playing the music. He thinks of short films as being very similar to poems, each depending on rhythm and carefully selected images to connect with its audience. «For me a poem is a short film, the reader's attention, like a camera, following the action from line to line, stanza to stanza. The challenge is to engage the eye, and remain open to unexpected discoveries.»


(Ireland, 2022) 3 min 58
Poem and Film by Colm Scully

An ekphrastic poetry film based on Robert Hunter's family portrait of the Penrose family (a wealthy 18th century Quaker family in Cork) which can be seen in Crawford Gallery, Cork. Colm Scully is a poet and poetry film maker from Cork, Ireland. His films have been selected and shown in Europe, America and India.


(Ireland, 2022), 3 min 46
Film by Dennis Phillip Earlie
Poem by Kevin McManus
Cast: Anne Browne, Elaine Shine and Padrig O’Connor

The primary motivation for the poem “Lost Souls” was to try to capture in some small way the tragedy of homelessness. My father immigrated to England in the late 1950s and worked in construction. He often described how young Irish men he worked with began spending more and more time in the pubs, probably because they were lonely and homesick. Eventually, they started missing work and got sacked from job after job until they had no place to go. They then couldn’t afford to pay the rent, became homeless and began to sleep on the streets or in homeless shelters. These young men felt that they were not wanted back in Ireland and were not wanted anymore in England either. They were essentially “Lost Souls”. Kevin’s poem epitomizes for Dennis what his own father’s life was like. For Dennis ‘’Lost Souls’’ is very close to his heart – for him and for many families in Ireland.


(Netherlands, 2023), 2 min 40
Film by Bauke Brower
Poem by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Key cast: Will Fraser

A man needs to confront his past before he can move on. Dutch-born, South African-raised Bauke Brouwer has the ability to make meaningful connections with total strangers. Almost instantly. With over 20 years of global experience as a director and editor in film, television, and advertising, Bauke’s focus and passion remains on what he sees as the humble yet profound craft of storytelling. There are no airs and graces. His vision and drive is to create work that will complete the circle and build a genuine connection with the viewer.


(USA, 2018) 2 min 42
Poem and Film by Caroline Rumley

The significance of dreams and of words of encouragement. “A lot of my work deals with loss or injustice, so when I woke one morning with a positive dream still fresh in my mind, I wrote the words for this piece. I thank the person at the end who has helped me along the way, the one I dreamed was standing there, and I also thank Anthony Bourdain, who influenced me from afar.” Caroline Rumley is an American filmmaker from the South who combines solo-shot film, found and archival footage, text and sound to illuminate a personal or public experience.


(USA), 3 min 55
Poem, film and music by Anne Ciecko

Petrykivka is a poetry film that foregrounds issues of separation and belonging during the first months of a new war and amidst the timelessness of folklore. Images of heroism, everyday artifacts and spaces decorated with floral imagery, remediated viral video, footage of resistance and survival, are intertwined with object-based and hand-drawn animation. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and currently living and working in Amherst, Massachusetts (with grateful acknowledgement of these locations on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded homelands of the Lenape, Pocumtuck, and Nonotuck peoples), Anne Ciecko is a maker, writer, and educator. Her work connects original poetry and music with reflexive explorations of folk culture and heritage, representation of identity, trauma, memory, and survival.


(Portugal, 2022), 1 min 23
Poem and Film by Cristina Narayan
Cast: Francisco Jose Rio

"It is a 1:23 minute poetic film that explores the identity of a nomad. The film was originally made as part of an assignment that challenged students to create a character and expose their individuality through film. With no further instructions, every student had the creative freedom to present a unique portrait that showcased their own abilities. This simple exercise quickly became a more personal project. A nomad's portrait is a direct analogy to the immigrant experience, a response to years of questioning what belonging really is, questioning the meaning of home and national identity through the lens of hope and deconstruction to achieve a higher, more complete self." Born and raised in Venezuela, Cristina Narayan is a luso-guyanese writer and filmmaker based in Portugal. She is a film student in Escola Superior de Tecnologia de Abrantes. She explores the art and technicalities of cinema, where her multicultural background melts into an intimate perspective.


(Belgium, 2022), 6 min 56
Film and poem by Dorothée Karekezi

This experimental self-portrait film written in the form of a poem in quatrains straddles documentary and autofiction. Completely self-produced using a Sony Handycam HDR-CX130 camcorder, the short film’s VHS grain is intentional. Dorothée Karekezi: “Agnès Varda’s intimate documentary style was one of my inspirations. Without limiting myself to this genre, I wanted to explore my vulnerability while questioning my identity as a mixed-race woman.” Dorothée Karekezi is an artist born and raised in Brussels. Multifaceted challenge addict, she has lived in Romania, Portugal and the Netherlands where she’s currently based. She’s constantly using her multicultural background to build her craft and consider herself to be a chameleon when it comes to acting, always eager to learn more and better. She’s passionate about storytelling, character development, and improv, and writes poems. In addition to her dedication to performing arts, Dorothée is a certified athletics coach, a swimmer medalist and has danced for more than 10 years in Belgium and the Netherlands.


(Jordan, 2019) 6 min 56
Film by Kazz Torabyeh and Hisham Bustani
Poem by Hisham Bustani

In this videopoetry film, Hisham Bustani's poem about the city, urban transformations, alienation imposed by structures of authority, and the intersections between the “personal” and the “public”, the “intimate” and the “day-to-day”, is transformed, in collaboration with Kazz Torabyeh, into a pressing audiovisual-scape, opening the text into a plurality of potentialities and possibilities. The film is also a poetic nod to pressing, contemporary issues – the consequences of humanity’s rapid descent into selfishness, isolated individuality, and self-destruction – as well as speaking to the possibilities of poetry as a literary form as it engages other artistic mediums.


(United States, 2022) 2 min 33
Poem and Film by Jeffrey Morin
Inspired by Henry James Slack, The Ministry of the Beautiful: Conversation I: The Cavern (1850)
Music by David Beard “Discovery”
Cast: Killian Casey Carney as Explorer, Jeffrey Morin as Grandpa

A grandfather takes his grandson to a playground in the hope of providing him with the freedom he needs to learn the creative process in life. So that he will have the chance to create his own stories in his turn. Educated at UW Madison, Jeffrey Morin studied acting, directing and playwriting. “I’ve produced my own original drama on stages in the Metro Milwaukee and Madison areas. I am married with two adult children and two grandsons. I've written some plays, volumes of poetry and then switched to screenwriting in 2010 when my artistic life came back to me with both kids out on their own. I now have a number of scripts that have won international awards and have also produced five short films, working toward a feature. The only remaining hope I have in life is to leave behind a legacy of stories and inspire those that survive me to create their own vision and stories that are unique to their lives.”


(New Zealand, 2023) 2 min 29
Poem and Film by Ethan Mooney

Lost Upon Arrival (2023) tells the story of a traveller who, after spending several years living abroad, must at last return home. Despite being able to put homesickness to rest, he struggles with the weight of being caught between two homes. The one he's made overseas, and the one he's originally from. Ethan Mooney was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand. A quiet child growing up, Ethan used writing to express himself. He was introduced to acting in secondary school, and quickly discovered his passion for theatre and film. He went on to pursue a degree in Film & Media, and a diploma in Drama Directing & Scriptwriting. His work often touches on themes of isolation and distance. Currently in Wellington, New Zealand, he is itching to get back overseas to tell some new stories.


(Netherlands, 2020) 4 min
Film by Pat van Boeckel
Key cast: Pieter van de Pol
Poem by Fernando Pessoa

Video poem made in an abandoned wool factory in Portugal for the Museum of Guarda by Pat van Boeckel and Peter van der Pol. Pat van Boeckel is a Dutch artist, specialized in the documentary film genre and video art. His video art examines the intertwined relation between humans and their (natural) environment. The embodied experience of time and place is central to both his documentaries and video art works. He prefers to project his video art in and on existing objects and spaces, thus adding new layers to the moving image. It enables him to twist and play with meanings and expectations. In the process he invents his own language of signification, leaving the audience the space to make their own interpretations.


(Portugal 2021), 6 min 32
Poem and Film by Rafael Valentini
Soundtrack by Eli Miguel de Lima

A visual anthology, divided into three acts, which questions absolute truth and the crossing of universal and individual consciousness through time. "I am a make-up artist with over 14 years’ experience. I always search for new ways of telling stories about identity and reflect on life through cinematic, theatrical, or musical language. I moved to Lisbon in 2019, and started studying philosophy which opened my eyes to discovering the human soul more and more. In my poetry films, I aim to entwine make-up art, acting, poetry, and creative editing." Rafael Valentini.


(Portugal, 2021), 1 min 45
Poem and Film by Rafael Valentini
Cast: Rafael Valentini
Soundtrack by Eli Miguel de Lima

“Time Machine” is a poetry film about the incredible invention that is the "human being" machine, how it works through time and, especially, about choices and paths. "I am a make-up artist with (over 14 years’ experience. I always search for new ways of telling stories about identity and reflect on life through cinematic, theatrical, or musical language. I moved to Lisbon in 2019, and started studying philosophy which opened my eyes to discovering the human soul more and more. In my poetry films, I aim to entwine make-up art, acting, poetry and creative editing." - Rafael Valentini.


(France, 2016) 4 min 46
Film by David Ellis
Music by Nhung Nguyen, Soundawakener.com, Hanoi, VN

My films are created as visual poetry, non-narrative films where the viewers create their own narratives. Long Departure is intended to be a visual poem about separation and memory. The moving images in my films replace words or language, which removes the limitation created by language. They become accessible to all through the imagery. In David Ellis’ exploratory approach to filmmaking, moving pictures no longer need to “make sense”. Why should we need a narrative when we are fully capable of forming our own stories? We do not move through our “life experience” aware of our own narrative. We experience a stitched / weaved together continuum of snippets of experience, with one usually seamlessly melting into the next, yet we do not “ask for our narrative” as we experience our moment-to-moment lives.


(Portugal, 2023) 5 min 44
Film by Quaresma Vieira
Poem by Fernando Pessoa, creatively adapted by Francisco Braz
Soundtrack by Lumiere Advanced

An experimental film based on stop-motion, long exposures and light-grafitti exploring the possible paths Fernando Pessoa and his heteronyms walked around Lisbon, accompanied by an improbable poem that loses its structure in order to reconnect to a new belonging. Ricardo Quaresma Vieira was born in the small village of Pontével, Cartaxo. With photographers for parents, he started exhibiting at the age of 15. The Portuguese National Film Institution (I.C.A.M.) sponsored him to produce and direct his first film “Today was tomorrow”. His work ranges from fashion mag-specific editorials to celebrity portraits and promo campaigns in both film & photography. He is determined to keep investigating and projecting his ideas through visual, social and post-contemporary art.


(Greece-USA, 2023) 3 min 49
Film and poem by Kelly Xintaris

“Chasing Birds" is about my experiences as a first-generation Greek-American, and it is peripatetic in scope. It is also about immigration and the limitations of those circumstances, in which the aftershocks undulate from one generation to the next." Kelly Xintaris is an artist and writer born in Chicago. Her work has been exhibited at Artists Space in New York, Boston City Hall, Boston Logan International Airport, Contemporary Artists Center, National Hellenic Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Arts + Literature Laboratory, and Eyelevel Gallery in Canada, among other galleries and venues. Her essays and poetry have been published in the Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography (Routledge), September 11 in Popular Culture (Greenwood Press), and various literary journals. She has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; a Post-Baccalaureate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; and a BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


(Canada/US, 2023) 3 minutes 31 seconds
Film by Fiona Tinwei Lam and Lara Renaud
Poem by Fiona Tinwei Lam
Soundscape and additional animation by Quinn Kelly

An erasure poem that teeters on obliteration, but ultimately veers back from the brink to reclaim creativity, inspiration, wonder and delight. «Sometimes in our desire for perfection, we can overedit and overcorrect ourselves to the point of overkill. We can destroy ourselves and our creations. But creativity can return--if we let it.” Co-director Fiona Tinwei Lam is Vancouver's 6th Poet Laureate and has published three collections of poetry and a children’s book. Shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Prize and other awards, her work has been included in over 45 anthologies. Co-director Lara Renaud is a multidisciplinary student artist, studying for her BFA in animated arts at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. She creates based on her own experiences; and attempts to capture the essence of the climate crisis, mental illness, and other social/political issues.


(Italy, 2022) 3 min 20
A film by Elena Baucke
Inspired by Franca Mancinelli’s poems
Key cast: Tania Petroni
Music by Marco Guizzi

Inspired by Franca Mancinelli's works, this video poem tells the story of a woman who sniffs her ex's shirt and finds herself immersed in a dreamlike dimension of memory and desire. Mancinelli's lines guide the story of the protagonist's inner monologue, celebrating the evocative nature of sounds, smells, and poetry. Elena Baucke is a screenwriter and director born in Vicenza, Italy, and now living in Milan. In 2014 she won a scholarship to attend a program at SVA in New York. In 2018 she co-wrote "Mathera" (Magnitudo Film, 2019), a documentary about the journey of the Italian city of Matera from symbol of extreme poverty to European Capital of Culture. She writes and directs shorts, video poems, and short docs.


(Germany, 2021) 6 min
Film by Joanna Maxellon
Poem by Joanna Maxellon / Nora Gomringer
Music by Ralf Heilmann
Key cast: Pawel Jarzambek, Helen Maxellon

"Me", based on the poem "Monster und Mädchen" by Nora Gomringer, questions the definable gender identity of women. The cruelty with which we submit to social norms and only live as alienated bodies contrasts with our feelings about this appropriation. The recurring question about the “I” ultimately remains unanswered, alone and isolated, as a justification in front of the male gaze. A surrender? Or a strategy of survival?


(There’s Always Something)
(Germany, 2021), 4 min 52
Film by Philipp Johann
Written and performed by Micha Kunze
Produced by Micha Kunze, Philipp Johann and Sarah Schmid
Music: Kilian Mohns
Soundscape: Oliver Kirschig

“There’s Always Something” is a personal poem about depression. About getting lost in one’s own mind and being disconnected from the self. Not coming to conclusions but trying to fight without drowning in pain. It’s like an inventory of the feelings of a person who just hit rock bottom – and doesn’t even know it yet. Philipp Johann is part of the creative production company Sallyhateswing and is currently based in Cologne. He works as a director for a variety of creative films. His work varies from commercial productions all over the globe to small independent projects. Micha Kunze is a German filmmaker, spoken word poet and writer. After several tours in 2018 and 2019 through Germany, Austria and Switzerland he started producing poetry films for his own poems. He’s currently based in Cologne.


(Germany, 2021) 4 min 54
Film by Lukas Augustin
Written and performed by Micha Kunze
Produced by Micha Kunze and Josua Graf
Music: Kilian Mohns
Soundscape: Oliver Kirschig

“Alcatraz” – with its loneliness and prison cells – is a metaphor for our inner limits, boundaries, and fears. With time the author realizes that the island is just a construct of his mind. And he tries to find a way to escape. Lukas Augustin is a German filmmaker based in Berlin. His productions, mostly films, documentaries and photography, have won awards such as an international EMMY award, CNN Journalist Award and STERNPREIS. Micha Kunze is a German filmmaker, spoken word poet and writer. After several tours through Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2018 and 2019, he started producing poetry films of his own poems. He’s currently based in Cologne.


(New Zealand, 2021), 3 min 24
Film by William Cho
Based on the poem by Paula Harris
Cast: Mandy Eeva Watkins, Slaine McKenzie

The possibility of love and the reminder left afterwards. “It was one of the poems that jumped out to me when I read through the list of poems. The part that jumped out to me was the ending, it felt like a gut-punch after experiencing this date with the protagonist and knowing what she’s feeling and in the last couple of stanzas having the rug pulled from under me, I was instantly reminded of some of my favourite films by director Wong Kar-wai about love and relationships” - Wiliam Cho. William Cho is a filmmaker and photographer born and raised in Wellington. He has had a passion for film and visual storytelling since high school. Fresh out of Victoria University of Wellington’s film production MFA programme, he’s keen to tackle any project and develop his voice within the industry.


(Portugal/Canada), 6 min 51 (an excerpt)
Film & Translation by David Swartz
Key cast: Mariana Meneses, Dullier Correia, Maria Cabral
Play by FERNANDO PESSOA (An Excerpt)

THE SEAFARER by FERNANDO PESSOA takes place in a medieval castle, where three women await the dawn of day while recalling an absent sailor and his dream of a homeland that doesn't exist. The film contains excerpts from the play following Swartz ́s 2022 translation of Fernando Pessoa’s “O marinheiro” (written in 1913). Born and raised in Toronto, David moved to Lisbon Portugal in 2014 where he studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lisbon and Literary Studies at NOVA University Lisbon (defending a PhD thesis entitled “Shake-speares Tenth Muse: The Will To Nothing” in 2022). His recent publications include two translations from Portuguese: The Religious Mantle by Nuno Júdice (New Meridian Arts, 2019) and Orpheu Literary Quarterly Volume 1 & 2 (New Meridian Arts). He ́s currently preparing a film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s King Lear.

special out-of-competition screening:  “BLAME THE FOX” and “NOWHERE TO GO BUT ON” by JANET LEES


UK, 2022) 4 min 49
Film by Janet Lees
Poem by Jane Lovell

A film inspired by the award-winning poem Blame the Fox, by Jane Lovell; a response to ever-increasing extinctions among bird species. "In various ways I’m chronicling what it feels like to be human at a time when human activity is having a devastating effect on life on earth. I use the camera as a storytelling machine as much as a documenting device. In a world where video, images and words can feel like a kind of babel, film, photography and poetry are potentially our most vital means of creative expression. This film is a collaboration with Jane Lovell, whose important and incredibly powerful poem Blame the Fox is the engine driving it. The poem possessed me for several weeks while I experimented with shooting in various locations. Then one day there was a haar, a sea mist that lasted all day, and I knew immediately that this was the right setting for the poem." - Janet Lees.


(UK, 2020) 3 min 33
Film and Poem by Janet Lees
A cento sourced from poems by Christian Wiman, Anne Sexton, Tracy K Smith, Heid E Edrich, and Wendell Berry.
Music by Martyn Cain

This film is based on a cento I made using lines from poems by Christian Wiman, Anne Sexton, Tracy K Smith, Heid E Edrich, and Wendell Berry. It features original music by Tromlhie, aka Martyn Cain, one of my long-term collaboration partners. I created the film just before the second coronavirus lockdown in the autumn of 2020. It reflects not only on the pandemic situation, but also the infinitely more deadly, but still largely overlooked, threat to life as we know it: climate and ecological breakdown. In the face of the end times, where can we go but on?

Janet Lees is a lens-based artist and poet. Her films have been selected for many festivals and screenings, including the Aesthetica Art Prize, the International Vidoepoetry Festival, and the Zebra Poetry Film Festival. In 2021 she won the Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film competition. Her art photography has been exhibited around the world and her poetry widely published in journals and anthologies. She has had two books published: 'House of water', a collection of her poems and art photographs, and 'A bag of sky', the winning collection in the Frosted Fire Firsts prize hosted by the UK's Cheltenham Poetry Festival. JA Theatre is very grateful to Janet Lees for being Head of the Jury for the first-ever JAFEST Poetry Film Competition in Lisbon, in April 2023.