During the weekend of Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th February, 9 am – 6.30 pm at the Malta Society of Arts, Valletta, director Yasmin Fedda of Highlight Arts will be leading a free practical workshop on poetry films, titled Translating word into moving image.

This workshop is being organised by Inizjamed as part of the Valletta 2018 project Poetry on Film, with the aim of developing the sector of poetry films in Malta. Yasmin Fedda, author of various poetry films and of documentaries that have been broadcast on BBC and Al Jazeera, will be giving a detailed overview of the following:

(a) Different contemporary approaches to poetry film.

(b) Visual language, structure, telling a story on screen.

(c) How to draft a proposal and budget for a short film, and advice on pitching.

Immediately after the workshop, a call for proposals from directors will be published, with a view to creating two poetry films, of 4 to 8 minutes and with a maximum budget of € 3,000 each financed by the Valletta 2018 Foundation, to be shown at the next edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival (MMLF, 25th-27th August 2016, Fort St. Elmo).

Whereas the previous two editions of the Festival featured poetry films that were specifically commissioned, this year there will be a process of selection, with applying directors choosing from one of three poems by Lillian Sciberras or by Raymond Mahoney, both representatives of Maltese poetry of the 1980s. These six poems, chosen by Immanuel Mifsud as literary consultant for the Poetry on Film project, will be sent to those attending the workshop a few days before it starts, in order for them to identify one poem and draft a provisional synopsis that they can develop during the workshop.

The deadline for the final proposal will close on 31st March; shortlisted directors will then be invited for a pitching session in mid-April. The two proposals finally selected will need to be translated into film by the end of July, in order for the films to be shown at the MMLF and later submitted to festivals and competitions abroad.

Participation in the workshop is free of charge. There is a maximum of 15 places, with preference being given to those who can attend both days of the workshop. To apply for the workshop, please send an e-mail to [email protected] with the following attached documents by not later than Tuesday 9th February, noon:

– letter of motivation

– cv with filmography

– scan or photo of ID card or residence permit

The poetry films that were commissioned and shown at the last two editions of the MMLF were Eleġija, directed by Kenneth Scicluna and inspired by the poems Dedika and Eleġija by Doreen Micallef as a representative of Maltese poetry of the 60s; and Ried Ikun Jaf, directed by Edward Said and produced by Emma Mattei, based on a poem with the same title by Mario Azzopardi, as an example of Maltese poetry from the 70s.

For further information about the workshop and the Poetry on Film project, call 99464531 (Antoine Cassar) or write to [email protected].

Bio note:

Yasmin Fedda is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films have focused on themes from Edinburgh bakeries to Syrian monasteries. Her films have been BAFTA-nominated and screened at numerous international festivals, including Sundance, Glasgow and Abu Dhabi. Films include Milking the Desert (2004), Breadmakers (2007), A Tale of Two Syrias (2012) and Siamo Tornati / We are Back (2013). Fedda’s most recent documentary, Queens of Syria (2014), about a group of 50 Syrian women exiled in Amman, with no experience in theatre, who came together to perform the ancient Greek tragedy Trojan Women, was broadcast on BBC and received the Black Pearl Award. Fedda is also the founder of Tell Brak Films.

Fedda has a PhD in Transdisciplinary Documentary Film, and is also co-founder and programmer of Highlight Arts, an organisation that works with artists in times of conflict. The 2015 edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival featured three poetry films by Yasmin Fedda: A Man Dies in Me, based on a poem by Zhawen Shally; C.V., on a poem by Ali Wajeeh;  and An Imminent Dawn, inspired by the poem ‘Twin’ by Ahmad Abdul Hussein.