Archive for April, 2010

Imperfect Armor began with an idea for an image that ultimately sparked a poem as well the creation and combination of diverse moving images to illustrate it. The process of making it could be said to have moved from an image to words to a film simultaneously using words and images as well as sounds in a way that demonstrates the interconnectedness of various art forms.

A quickly sketched picture of an elephant first led to a poem contemplating difference between the animal’s strong, seemingly unshakably stoic appearance and the possibility of vulnerability and distress. As the poem was developed and refined, it moved beyond the contrast between surface appearance and more complex reality, though that remains a key theme, to also involve a story – the story of someone looking back with regret but unwilling to abandon hope or the possibility of learning from difficult experiences and also, perhaps, of making changes to achieve a better future.

As the poem was developed and refined, that early thought of a single image gave rise to multiple images that vividly show the different moods and episodes the poem considers.

These include images made with light and sand.

© 2010 Rodwan Productions


Other images were made with paint.

© 2010 Rodwan Productions


For others, an African elephant was crafted from clay.

© 2010 Rodwan Productions


Imperfect Armor also uses archival live-action footage from travels through Africa.

Here is the filmmaker at work:


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Like the Elinor Wylie poem on which the film is based, Incantation contrasts black and white images. It uses a form of animation involving paintings inspired by Wylie’s words.

“A white dove / On a wild black night.”

© 2008 Rodwan Productions









“A white hand / Waved from dark walls…”


© 2008 Rodwan Productions









Here’s the filmmaker at work:










The films in the Poetry in Pictures Series are quite short.  Imperfect Armor runs for three minutes.  Incantation is only one minute and seventeen seconds long!

This brevity makes creating a trailer a challenge.  Nonetheless, a trailer for Incantation can be view on its IMDB page.

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Multitalented musician and actor Stuffy Shmitt provided an evocative reading of Walt Whitman’s poem for A Noiseless Patient Spider. Stuffy previously collaborated with Rodwan Productions by providing original music for the documentary No Neutral Corner (winner of a 2010 Las Vegas Film Festival Silver Ace Award) and by acting in The City.

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The film Incantation is based on a poem from Nets to Catch the Wind (1921), the first of the four volumes of poetry that Elinor Wylie (1885-1928) produced in the 1920s, a period when in a burst of creative activity she also wrote four novels as well as short stories, essays and magazine articles.

A somewhat neglected writer, Wylie deserves more recognition for her poems, as this Open Letters Monthly essay argues.

The Poetry Foundation provides a handy overview of Wylie’s life and work on its website.

The Guardian’s Books Blog selected a different Wylie work as its “Poem of the Week” on March 30, 2009, but this post does discuss “Incantation” (the poem), too.

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A Noiseless Patient Spider was an official selection at the following film festivals:

Cannes Independent Film Festival 2010

Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 2009

Indie Memphis 2009

Magnolia Film Festival 2010

Montana Independent Film Festival 2009

San Francisco Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival 2010

It won the following awards:

Award of Merit – Indie Fest 2009

Royal Reel Award for Excellence in Filmmaking – Canada International Film Festival 2010

Gold Award in the animation category from the Oregon Film Awards 2010

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Incantation was an official selection at the following film festivals:

Barebones International Film & Music Festival 2009

Flatland Film Festival 2008

Honolulu International Film Festival 2009

Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival 2008

New Orleans International Children’s Film Festival 2009

San Diego International Children’s Film Festival 2009

San Francisco Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival 2009

Seattle True Independent Film Festival 2009

It was an official finalist in the animation competition at the Canada International Film Festival 2009

It won the following awards:

Gold Kahuna Award – Honolulu International Film Festival

Most Enchanting Award – Seattle True Independent Film Festival

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“A Noiseless Patient Spider” has been accepted into the 2010 Cannes Independent Film Festival: http://www.cannesfest.org/

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