FILMETRY Festival Will Celebrate ‘Poetics of Cinema’ APRIL 19

FILMETRY, a film festival that celebrates the union of film and poetry, will give extra emphasis to that union in this year’s festival, when poetry goes to the movies on the page and the screen.

As part of the festival, which is free and open to all, 11 short new films adapted from poems informed by films will premiere on Friday, April 19, at The Fledge, 1300 Eureka Street in Lansing, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Before each film screening, audience members will have a chance to see each poem on the screen and hear audio-only narration of the poem.

Graphic with a prurple background showing reels of film stacked on top of each other with the words: "FILMETRY A Festival of Poetry and Film."

The fifth annual FILMETRY Festival is presented in partnership with the Capital City Film Festival and sponsored by the MSU Department of English, MSU Film Studies Program, and MSU Timnick Chair in the Humanities.

Filmmakers and poets from throughout the world will be represented at the event, including several poets and filmmakers who are planning to travel to Lansing from out-of-state. The festival also will feature several local poets and filmmakers, including MSU faculty and students.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three films, judged by poet and fiction writer Jim Daniels, who co-edited RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music (Michigan State University Press, 2020), which is the anthology that formed the basis for the 2020 FILMETRY Festival.

FILMETRY Co-founder Pete Johnston, who’s own film, an adaptation of Co-founder Cindy Hunter Morgan’s poem Romance, will be featured at the festival, said this year’s FILMETRY Festival is a celebration of the way “going to the movies” has informed all aspects of contemporary life and art, including poetry.

“The filmmakers had rich poems to work with as source material. And the source material for the poems began with films. For this reason alone, it feels like a particularly special year for FILMETRY.”

Pete Johnston, Co-Founder of FILMETRY

“The filmmakers had rich poems to work with as source material, and the source material for the poems began with films,” said Johnston, MSU Department of English and Film Studies Program faculty member. “For this reason alone, it feels like a particularly special year for FILMETRY, and a particularly appropriate year to show the films in The Fledge – a former church where, on April 19, we can pray to the cinema gods.”

FILMETRY Co-founder Cindy Hunter Morgan said FILMETRY gives audience members opportunities to hear and see poems unreeling on the big screen.

“The festival enlarges poetry – literally, of course, but it also gives audiences a new way into experiencing poems,” said Hunter Morgan, Assistant Professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and in the Department of English at MSU. “The filmmaker’s art is a kind of alchemy: when an adaptation is done well, a poem is more than it once was. The synergistic nature of the festival is part of what I love about FILMETRY, and I’m delighted about this year’s very meta theme.”

Co-founded in 2018 by Hunter Morgan, a poet, and Johnston, a filmmaker, the FILMETRY Festival gives filmmakers – students, academic faculty and staff, and filmmakers throughout the world – opportunities to collaborate with poets throughout the world. Many films that have premiered at previous FILMETRY Festivals have gone on to win awards at other film festivals.

The first FILMETRY Festival took place in January 2019 in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities Theater on Michigan State University’s campus. The 2020 event was to be held in Wells Hall, home of the MSU Film Studies Program, but was rescheduled as an online live-streamed event due to COVID-19. The 2021 event was virtual as well, while the 2022 event marked the return of an in-person premiere.

For more information, including a full list of 2024 filmmakers and poets, see the FILMETRY website.