JÁ 2023 POETRY FILM competition

12 December 2022-16 April 2023
 Cossoul, Lisboa & Casa Fernando Pessoa, Lisboa

Curated and programmed by Tania Kumeda

The JáFest 2023 Poetry Film Competition invited emerging as well as experienced artists, first-time videographers, veteran filmmakers and poets to showcase their work in this rapidly evolving medium. The competition accepted entries in two categories:


Competitive submissions (maximum length 7 minutes) were accepted via FilmFreeway. A selection committee comprising JÁ co-founders Tania Kumeda, Suresh Nampuri and Dan Cotterall chose a shortlist of 34 films from the 81 films submitted.

A jury consisting of British filmmaker Janet Lees, Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Caldeira and Portuguese poet and poetry anthologist Paulo Tavares were then tasked with selecting winners and runners-up in each section. Five films were awarded monetary prizes.

Submissions were screened as part of JÁFest at two iconic Lisbon venues: Casa Fernando Pessoa and Cossoul, on April 12, 13 and 15, followed by conversation and out-of-competition screening of  two films by Janet Lees: “BLAME THE FOX” (poem by Jane Lovell) and “NOWHERE TO GO BUT ON”.

The winner in the SEPARATION & BELONGING section was USA filmmaker Kym McDaniel’s HOW TO OUTLINE GRIEF (5 min 47), featuring the dancer Elisabeth O’Keefe Roskopf.

The runner-up was CHANGER DE PEAU/CHANGING SKIN (6 min 30) by Belgian filmmaker Maxime Coton. MEMORY (2 min 40) by Dutch filmmaker Bauke Brower, featuring dancer Will Fraser, won the Special Mention prize.

[vc_hoverbox image=”5776″ primary_title=”” hover_title=”” el_class=”pfhover”]“With each successive viewing this film embedded itself more deeply in us. It combines voice, text, image and sound with great sensitivity and palpable personal feeling. Grief cannot be adequately expressed in words; the filmmaker captures the changing faces of her loss through body language, domestic scenes and, as time passes, more abstract animation. An exquisite meditation on grief and, more than that, it transforms something that for all of us is a lonely journey into a connecting experience.” – 2023 PF Jury[/vc_hoverbox]
[vc_hoverbox image=”5775″ primary_title=”” hover_title=”” el_class=”pfhover”]“A rewarding slow burn of a film poem which builds and builds into something momentous. WE are momentous creations, yet so often remain blind to this. The whole film is suffused with a sense of obfuscation which comes through in the restless, shifting repetitions of an evocative abstracted soundscape and a brilliantly cohesive visual treatment which spans the microscopic and macrocosmic.” – 2023 PF Jury[/vc_hoverbox]
[vc_hoverbox image=”5774″ primary_title=”” hover_title=”” el_class=”pfhover”]“A sensitive and seamless interweaving of spoken commentary and body language – physical poetry – to create a beautifully coherent work. The film travels on a huge journey, from subjugation to freedom of expression, in just a few minutes, in a way that imprints itself on our memories, as viewers.” – 2023PF Jury[/vc_hoverbox]

The winner in the DISQUIET! said PESSOA, or DESASSOSSEGO COM FERNANDO PESSOA section was Dutch filmmaker Pat van Boeckel’s CONSTROI UMA CASINHA / BUILD ME A COTTAGE (4 min 00), featuring his longtime collaborator Pieter van der Pol.

The runner-up was PERSONAFICATION (5 min 44) by Portuguese filmmaker Ricardo Quaresma Vieira.

[vc_hoverbox image=”5797″ primary_title=”” hover_title=”” el_class=”pfhover”]“A film poem which begins and ends with startling images and creeps quietly into your heart during the walk between them. A beautifully felt rendering of Pessoa’s poem, which captures his words laterally rather than literally, and a stunning collaboration between filmmaker and installation artist.” – 2023 PF Jury[/vc_hoverbox]
[vc_hoverbox image=”5796″ primary_title=”” hover_title=”” el_class=”pfhover”]“References and riffs with the words of Pessoa and his main heteronyms with great energy and wit. The crackling soundtrack, flickering visuals and graffiti-like text combine to embody a restless, insatiably curious mind – multiple souls within one person.’” – 2023 PF Jury[/vc_hoverbox]

The other films to make the TOP-10 in the “Separation and Belonging” section of the JÁFEST 2023 Poetry Film Competition were:

Check out the complete gallery of our festival selection and screening program, compiled by Tania Kumeda and Ricardo Silva

The festival offered a platform for wildly disparate styles of filmmaking and visual interpretations of poetry and showcased how this nascent medium is still in a state of metamorphosis, drawing artists with a yen for non-linear narrative.

Check out our Jury President Janet Lees’ impressions of the festival and the city of Lisbon, penned for an article in liberatedwords, https://liberatedwords.com/

To know more about their creative process, Tania Kumeda and Dan Cotterall conducted interviews with the competition winners as part of the JÁ Dialogues with Creators series…