Arts + Literature Laboratory has brought creativity and community into the lives of thousands of people during our first seven years in Madison through exhibitions, concerts, readings, and educational 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.

Midwest Video Poetry Fest inspires experimentation and collaborations and deepens the understanding of poetry and visual culture. It includes narrative, animation, experimental, spoken word performances, and more. This emerging and exciting format is adding to the rapidly growing audience for poetry in America. Leading up to the in-person screenings which will take place in Madison and Milwaukee, Arts + Literature Laboratory (ALL) will be hosting free poetry video making workshops and featuring video poetry on the ALL Review.

MVPF is the first of its kind in Wisconsin and presents 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.

Performances: Videos that include elements of spoken word performances but are not limited to a simple recording of a reading are encouraged. Videos might include other elements such as music, animation, other footage, or special effects, to name a few.

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.

Poetic Videos: Work that uses poetic structures or forms or is poetically informed in some manner.

The Midwest Video Poetry Fest will take place in person on October 5th and October 12th, 2024. The works will be available on ALL's YouTube channel for one month following the in-person screening.

Format of the Series
There will be two evenings of live poet+filmmaker performance followed by film screenings on October 5th and October 12th at ALL in Madison, WI. Each evening's 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 one month after the initial screenings.

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 .mov file.

Submission Eligibility
Only work created after January 2022 is eligible.
There is no premiere policy for submission.

Submission Fee
Regular submissions are $10 ($6 June 1 and before) and student submissions are $5 ($3 June 1 and before). Filmmakers who live in economically disadvantaged areas of the globe and/or who face financial hardship may have the fee waived at the discretion of the festival organizers. Email to find out more. 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 August 1, 2024.

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 June 1, 2024. 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
  • I wasn't able to make it as it was at the same time as some foreign fests I'd already made plans to attend, but the communications were excellent and very warm, and from social media, it looked like they had an outstanding program in beautiful venues. I will definitely submit future work!

    October 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Dawn! We were happy to feature your work in our festival. We look forward to seeing more work from you in the future!

  • Sami Miranda

    We really appreciated having our short "Hiding Place" included in the festival, the organizers were super communicative and we felt welcomed even though we were not able to be present at the festival itself.

    October 2023
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Sami! We are so happy to be able to feature your powerful work in our festival. We can't wait to see what else you create!

  • I'm so impressed by both the festival runners and the attendees! I loved the diversity of the films they chose to screen, and it was great visiting the Arts + Literature Lab for the first time. Thanks for your support!

    October 2023
  • It was great to be part of Midwest Video Poetry Fest! Professional organisation, friendly and helpful in their communication, and an honour to have my animation 'La luna asoma' selected, amongst all those other high quality poetry films. Thanks again!

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Jelle! Your work added an important dynamic to our festival - and we hope to see more work from you!

  • Sebastian J. Lowe

    Thank you for screening our film!

    November 2022