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 throughout the day, October 28, 2017, in the Hannon Library, Southern Oregon University, during ALAF (Ashland Literary Arts Festival), to an adoring public of indie publishers, authors, filmmakers, editors, and artists celebrating the independent spirit of film, literary, and visual arts. There is no festival admission fee. All are welcome.

Prize winners, if present, may be invited to join a public conversation with our judges and editors about filmmaking and poetry.

Awards & Prizes

Grand Prize winner receives a $250 cash prize and possible publication in The Timberline Review.*

Audience Favorite receives a hand-drawn broadside of the poem.

Top ten finalists receive recognition and promotion on The Timberline Review website (

Rules & Terms


• 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 August 1st through September 30th, 2017.

• 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 Willamette Writers, The Timberline Review, Cinema Poetica, and all other sponsors and participants of the Cinema Poetica Film Festival and the Ashland Literary Arts 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 October 28th in Ashland, Oregon and at other festival-related screenings, permission to archive your film on The Timberline Review website and the Cinema Poetica YouTube, Vimeo, or other online channel, and permission to include your film in future promotions and in a 2017 Cinema Poetica festival DVD.

By submitting a film adaptation of your own original work of poetry, you grant The Timberline Review the right, in its sole discretion, to publish the underlying poem in Issue #6 (expected publication date February 1, 2018), and to archive the poem on The Timberline review website for promotional purposes.