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, our programming and audiences will expand as we move into a new, more accessible, and larger location in the heart of Madison’s Capitol East District. At this new location, we will be hosting the first Midwest Video Poetry Fest (MVPF).

Video poetry gives creators an opportunity to use one of our newest art forms--film--to transform 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, featuring video poetry on our ALL Review, and hosting discussions on the genre of video poetry.

MVPF will be 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.

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

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. Only work created after January 2017 is accepted. 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.

The Midwest Video Poetry Fest will take place online on November 19th and 20th, 2020.

Format of the Series
There will be two evenings of live screenings in November 2020. 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 48 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
All submissions must have been completed after January 1, 2017.
There is no premiere policy for submission.

Submission Fee
There is no submission fee. Artists should not expect to receive any compensation for screening fees, travel, or accommodation.

Length of Work
Maximum length of ten minutes. Works longer than seven minutes are less likely to be screened.

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 October 21, 2020.

Number of Works
Entrants may submit up to three works. Please complete a separate form for each work.

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, 2020. 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 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
  • 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
  • Polina Komyagina

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

    November 2020