Arts + Literature Laboratory has brought creativity and community into the lives of thousands of people during our first four years in Madison through exhibitions, concerts, readings, and education programming for all ages. We bring together world-class artists, emerging and local artists, writers, musicians, and audiences for approximately two hundred events each year. In 2020, we moved to a new, larger location and launched the Midwest Video Poetry Fest.

Video poetry gives creators an opportunity to use one of our newest art forms--film--to expand one of our oldest art forms—poetry. This emerging and exciting format is adding to the rapidly growing audience for poetry in America. Leading up to the screenings, which will be part of the Wisconsin Book Festival in October of this year, Arts + Literature Laboratory (ALL) will be hosting free poetry video making workshops and featuring video poetry on our ALL Review.

MVPF is the first of its kind in Wisconsin and will present the work of local, national, and international poets and filmmakers. All events will be free and open to the public.

Though this is a screening in the Midwest, we are seeking work from poets, filmmakers and artists from around the country, and even from around the world. We are particularly interested in under-represented voices and works in any of the following categories:

Originals: Original poem and moving images created by the artist(s). Artist(s) may collaborate with each other to create the original work.

Adaptations: The artist(s) may use a poem that exists in the public domain and/or has written permission for use of the work by the copyright holder.

Midwest's Own: A work that significantly features the Midwest or a place within the Midwest or where the artist(s) a) lives in the Midwest at the time of their submission; b) was born in the Midwest; or c) has lived for a significant period (two years or more) in the Midwest.

Translations: Original work that an artist has translated from another language into English or English to another language. If the audio is spoken in another language, please use English subtitles as our judges are primarily English speakers.

Student Work: Work created by current students or individuals that were students when the work was created. A copy of student ID or current letter of enrollment from the school the individual is attending or has attended. You may upload a picture of either one on your FilmFreeway project page, under Files & Attachments.

Poetic Videos: Work that uses poetic structures or forms or is poetically informed in some manner. If your work does not fit the other categories and is poetically experimental in nature, submit your work to this category.

Each work selected for screening will receive a $50 honorarium.

The Midwest Video Poetry Fest will take place online on October 8 and 9th, 2021.

Format of the Series
There will be two evenings of live screenings in October 2021. Each screening will be unique and will include a selection of works from the open call alongside works by artists especially invited by the Curatorial Team. The films will be available on ALL's YouTube ( channel for 72 hours after the initial screening.

Submission Format
Films must be submitted via the FilmFreeway online screener only. If your work is selected for the festival, you will need to submit a .mp4 or .move file.

Submission Eligibility
Only work created after January 2019 is eligible.
There is no premiere policy for submission.

Submission Fee
Regular submissions are $6 and student submissions are $3. Artists should not expect to receive any compensation for screening fees, travel, or accommodation.

Length of Work
Maximum length of 7 minutes.

Selection of Work
Submissions are reviewed and selected under the following criteria:
Strength of text and images
Quality of narrative and production values

Midwest Video Poetry Fest endeavors to complete all selection procedures on September 1, 2021.

Number of Works
Entrants may submit multiple films in multiple categories but a submission fee is required for each entry.

Subtitles for Works not in English
All works in languages other than English must be submitted with English subtitles, unless their absence is intended.

Submission Date
All submissions must be received by 11:59pm CST on August 1, 2021. Late submissions will not be accepted.


Submission of work(s) (the “Work”) to Midwest Video Poetry Fest (the “MVPF”) will be understood to constitute agreement by and consent on the part of the artist-applicant (the “Artist”) to the conditions listed below, as well as the information provided on the submission guidelines:

1. The Artist will not receive monetary compensation for the inclusion of their Work in the series and understands that participating in the exhibition is considered the prize and compensation and no additional prize or compensation will be awarded.

2. By submitting to the MVPF, the Artist agrees to have their Work screened at the festival if it is selected to be shown.

3. The Artist gives the MVPF permission to use stills and clips (under 1 minute) of selected Works for promotional, archival, and educational purposes. Images of accepted Works may be cropped or rotated in the festival’s promotional materials.

4. Screenings are scheduled at the festival at the discretion of the MVPF. While the festival organizers will undertake to make every effort to adhere to the anticipated schedule, it reserves the right to alter or move the schedule or venue at any time for any reason. The Artist agrees that it will not hold Arts + Literature Laboratory liable or seek any relief or damages from Arts + Literature Laboratory for altering, canceling, or modifying in any way the schedule or venue for the exhibition.

5. The Artist represents that they have either the legal rights to the Work or explicit permission to use all of the material included in the Work. The Artist must be able to provide written proof of permission upon acceptance of the Work.

6. It is the responsibility of the artist(s) to obtain rights and permission for use of music, video footage, and all other creative work related to their Works prior to entering the MVPF. MVPF is not responsible for any infringement of such rights.

7. The Artist agrees to indemnify and hold the MVPF and any associated entities, volunteers, or representatives harmless for all damages or losses of any kind arising out of or relating in any way to the Work.

8. The Artist represents that they are 18 years of age or older, or that, if they are younger than the legal age to enter into contracts in the Artist’s state, they have provided the festival with signed, written consent from their parent or legal guardian.

Overall Rating
  • Joseph Puglisi

    Even though it was just the first year, I take great pride in participating in the MVPF. The organizer's focus and care reflected their own pride in what may just end up being the best Video Poetry Festival in the United States.

    Great efforts were likewise made to turn the festival into, well...a fest, despite covid. I expect great things in the future.

    April 2021
    Response from festival:

    We so appreciate your review, Joseph! It means so much to us here at MVPF that your experience in our first year was a positive one. We are proud that we were able to share your work with our audience. Happy Creating!

  • Irit Reinheimer

    Genia and the rest of the staff curated an amazing collection of films. I was honored to be included. Even though it was online, they coordinated a thoughtful and engaging q&a where two local poets gave reflections on the work and asked great questions. I hope this festival continues and I get another chance to participate.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for the review, Irit! We hold your work in high regard and were so excited to share it with our audience. The Q&A was such a great way to hear more about everyone's work and we look forward to continuing it. Thank you again for your incredible work!

  • Polina Komyagina

    Participating in MVPF was a great experience! I am grateful to the organizers and spectators!

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Polina! We are grateful to be able to include such wonderful and diverse work - like yours - in the first year of our festival. We strive to make this a meaningful experience for all participants and we're glad you felt that. We hope you keep creating video poems!