Going West Festival has announced a brand-new approach to celebrating live poetry with Different Out Loud, a collection of thoughtful video collaborations between Aotearoa poets and filmmakers.
Themed around the word ‘coastal’, these integrated pieces by some of our best poets and finest screen artists are being aired online from 12 April 2021.
The Kaupapa for Different Out Loud was to create poetry on the theme of ‘coastal’ or ‘littoral’, shot within the Waitākere Ranges Local Board area. Four of these videos are true collaborations, in which poets and filmmakers have worked together to develop integrated pieces, where the words and pictures depend on each other for their fullest meaning.
Collaborations are between poet Grace Iwashita-Taylor and director Ursula Grace; poet Hera Lindsay Bird and director Luke McPake; poet Murray Edmond and director Luke McPake; and poet Serie Barford and director Anna Marbrook.
"We thought of them as music videos: creative little operas, each one creating its own poetic world. Part of the kaupapa was to acknowledge our papakainga: te wao nui a Tiriwa (more commonly known as the Waitākere Ranges)," says Going West producer James Littlewood.
Different Out Loud marks a turning point in the development of Going West as a literary organisation, as they embark on a journey of commissioning and publishing brand new, original work. These newly commissioned films represent a natural extension of Going West’s kaupapa to explore the wider realms of literary discussion, oratory and performance.
Going West has a long involvement in poetry and now, in this stay-at-home world of pandemic alert levels, they have embarked on a new way of doing poetry for a wider audience. These selected videos are just the beginning, with miniature documentaries, a book and an entirely reworked and covid-adaptable live programme to come.
"We’re super proud to be commissioning new work to add to the canon of Aotearoa poetry, and our sneak-peaks at the work in progress has literally put a tear in our eye," James says.
Different Out Loud will breathe life into a new favourite with the original production of Allen Curnow’s classic, existential, west Auckland treatise, The Loop in Lone Kauri Road, in a collaboration between director Adam Jones and westy actor, Mark Mitchenson.
"Everything is different this year, and Going West is no exception. Different Out Loud is our celebration of doing things differently.
"And, because we know how much our audience loves coming to Titirangi, perched high in the Waitākere Ranges, we decided to connect all these video-poems to this place in some way. So, all the location shots in these works are shot somewhere in the Waitākere Ranges Local Board area (and we thank the board and Auckland Council for their support of this project)."
12 April: Littoral/Literal
Poet: Murray Edmond
Director: Luke McPake
Part poetry, part documentary, the season opens with a little festival by the sea. Poet, dramatist, and educator Murray Edmond collaborates with beach tagger David Hilliam to explore the theme of coastal poetry (littoral/literal) on the vast canvas of North Piha. Director Luke McPake captures the action in a charming piece that’s as subtle as it is festive, quietly rejoicing in shared words amidst an imposing west coast landscape.
19 April: Te Ara Kanohi
Poet: Serie Barford
Director: Anna Marbrook
Long-time festival friend (and former chair) Serie Barford’s poignant ode to her lost lover traverses the memories of a strong partnership, tragically brought to a premature end. Barford has walked the forests and beaches of Auckland’s west coast for many years, and this stunning and deeply emotional film traces both the memory of love, and the Te Henga ara walked so often by Serie and her partner.
April 27: The Loop in Lone Kauri Road
Poet: Allen Curnow
Director: Adam Jones
Performer: Mark Mitchinson
Black and white with animation
This project dives into the existential crisis imbued in Curnow’s words, suggesting a narrator with much on his mind, besides his picture-postcard location. Rather, this is a place of ‘raw red cuttings’; where dogs place healthy turds; hawks fly ‘heavy with an offal of silence’; and where helicopters ‘clapper-clawed the sea’. Filmmaker Adam Jones creates a richly cinematic experience, juxtaposing hand-held close-ups with sweeping vistas and abrupt flash-backs. In this reading of the Lone Kauri Road, the observer is anywhere other than his immediate vicinity: his memory – 'the same two minds' – throws up life experiences faster than he can interpret his current environment.
May 3: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight
Poet: Hera Lindsay Bird
Director: Luke McPake
Animated (portrait aspect ratio)
In an iconoclastic style for which Bird has become famous, this poem takes its name and its starting point from the famous work by Dylan Thomas, but relocates Thomas’s classical form into the more immediate and slightly surreal parlance of young modern lovers. Director Luke McPake’s hand-drawn and roto-scoped animations shy away from illustration towards a visual poem in their own right, – almost haiku like – complementing Bird’s text while leaving it ample space to do its uncanny work.
May 10: Edgewalker
Poet / Creator: Grace Iwashita-Taylor
Director: Ursula Grace
Animated by Pixel Push
This deeply personal account of Grace Iwashita-Taylor’s relationship with the ocean traverses feelings, whakapapa and the endless ocean itself, redolent with emotional and cultural references. Taylor collaborated closely with filmmaker Ursula Grace, both Pasifika wāhine drawing heavily on their mixed heritage to create a unique and powerful visual language, connecting cellular-level intimacy across vast distances of time and space. Adding further to the collaboration, animation duo Han Law and Siew Wee bring the language to life.