Cinema Poetica is a film festival celebrating the intersection of cinema and poetry, an emerging short-film genre. In Cinema Poetica, intrepid poets and filmmakers are encouraged to make films not "polished," but ever more raw, primitive, visceral, surprising, intuitive.

The Challenge

• Make a short film featuring a poem you've written, or one you wish you'd written, and that you have permission to perform and film for this contest. (The lawyers tell us if it’s not your own poem, the permission must be in writing and signed by the author of the poem or the person or entity that has the right to give that permission.) Or maybe just do your own poem, okay?

• Let the poem be your guide. Shoot in real time. Shoot in real locations. Shoot in color. Incorporate location sound into your film. If you’re going to use music, make the music on camera. Use natural lighting. Use a handheld camera.

• Forget about special effects and optical filters, car chases, stunt doubles, FX, studio overdubs, 35 mm stock, or spaceships, unless… no, absolutely no spaceships.

• For basic editing, here’s a good (and free) app designed specifically for mobile devices — Adobe Premiere Clip.

The Main Event

Films will be screened [the night before Wordstock, at the Mediatheque theater in the Pacific Northwest College of Art, 511 NW Broadway, Portland, Oregon, 97209.]

[Wordstock happens November 10, 2018 at the Portland Art Museum. Lit Crawl events occur the night before throughout downtown Portland.]

There is no festival admission fee. All are welcome.

Grand Prize winner in each category receives a $250 cash prize.

Grand Prize winners and Audience Favorites receive a hand-drawn broadside of the poem.

All finalists receive recognition and promotion on Cinema Poetica website.


• Films must include a poem narrative and not just include the poem but be grounded in it. In other words, dramatize your poem.

• Make all submissions through FilmFreeway ( )

• Regular submission period runs May 1st through September 30th, 2018.

• Maximum running time is 4 minutes.

• Poems can be in any language, but if not in English, you must provide English subtitles.

• No filmed readings, please.


If the underlying poem is not the submitter's own original work, by submitting your film you acknowledge and warrant that you have obtained all necessary permissions in writing from the author of the work, which must include the right to record and perform the poem you've used in your film.

Submitter agrees to hold harmless and indemnify Timber Mountain Media, Cinema Poetica, and all other sponsors and participants of the Cinema Poetica Film Festival, against any copyright claims or any other dispute of ownership and use arising out of the submission and public display of your film.

By submitting your film, you give the Cinema Poetica Film Festival permission to screen your film at the festival on _______________ and at other festival-related screenings, permission to archive your film on the Timber Mountain Media website and the Cinema Poetica YouTube, Vimeo, or other online channel, and permission to include your film in future promotions and in a Cinema Poetica festival DVD.

Overall Rating
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    Judith Barrington

    Really well organized and responsive to queries. Great idea to make a short out of one poem. Nice teamwork between the genres...Hope it continues!

    November 2017
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    Luca Fornasiero

    Great experience from Italy!
    I love their passion and mission for poetry.

    November 2017