ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival awards prizewinners


On Sunday, three awards worth a total of 9000 €, the award for the best film adaption of the festival poem and an audience award were presented at the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival's awards ceremony. The festival of the international poetry film took place from 3 to 6 November at Haus für Poesie and Kino in der Kulturbrauerei.

An international jury comprising Dagmara Kraus (poet, Germany), Ebele Okoye (multidisciplinary artist and animation filmmaker, Nigeria/Germany) and Christine Franz (director and writer, Germany) awarded the three prizes of 3000 € each. 25 poetry films produced worldwide competed for the titles.

The 2022 ZEBRA Prize for the Best International Poetry Film (donated by the Haus für Poesie) went to BLACK. BRITISH. MUSLIM. OTHER by the Saudi-British filmmaker Enas Saeed for the film version of her poem with the same title. In their statement, the jury said: „We don't need a big stage to make big statements. From barely three square-meters, we are confronted with questions about identity, tolerance, and stereotypes. An outstanding poem with an extraordinary linguistic quality, delivered from a female perspective fueled by indignation. 

The combination of cinematic realization and technical efficiency wrapped around a minimalistic setting, yet with vibrant images, captivate the viewer while triggering thoughts on gender, femininity, physical disability, and freedom of expression. This film challenges the traditional female role in a patriarchal world. 

A woman boldly confronts the audacity of role assignment. A highly political film. A self-liberation.”

The Goethe Film AwardSustainable Living (donated by the Goethe-Institut) was won by FATHERS’ LAND (orig. TERRA DEI PADRI) by Francesco Di Gioia (Italy) for the film interpretation of poems by Fadil Hasin Ash-Shalmani. The jury came to their decision because, “What does sustainability mean? Does the term only apply to environmental and ecological issues? Or is history also sustainable?

A historical poem, recited in a highly rhythmic way, along with a collage of archive material and propaganda films, open up a perspective upon an overlooked chapter of European colonial history.

Libya in the 1910s: Thousands of civilians are deported and killed by Italian military forces. The poet Fadil Hasin Ash-Shalmani processes this in prosodically impressive verses that have lost none of their potency, poignancy and explosiveness.

A poetic and cinematic unveiling of a forgotten tragedy.”

The 2022 Ritter Sport Film Award (donated by Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG) went to IMAGININGS by Anja Hiddinga (Netherlands) for her film interpretation of Walls and Dreams by KITCHEN’s LIGHT, a group of poets, that performs in sign language. What is poetry without sound? What is poetry without hearing?

This film proves that poetry also works without words; that one can hear with the eyes and see sound: a choreography of signs that is as proud as it is sensitive.

Signing as rebellion.

The film shows poets who struggle daily with the challenges of the hearing world, which hardly notices them. An ignored perspective on our society is told in a cinematically outstanding way. Music video aesthetics meet the poetry of gesture. This poem does not exist as spoken word, but only as moving images.” wrote the jury in their statement.

Two special mentions were awarded by the jury.

THE MIRROR NEURON by Tommy Becker (USA), based on his poems 4,000 Miles and Before the Sun Turns, got the first special mention. The reason given by the jury:

“This film is an epiphany – literally: with its sun-hump gloriously suspended in the sky in a leap, jerkily rotating around itself in unabashed ass-bombing posture, wrought from yellow sock and mischievous wit, from stuff, tongue-in-cheek and quotation, from acrylic colours and old cassette-tapes. Its creator is the most cagey of the image poets. He is the dodgy Parmigianino of poetry film.”

The second special mention goes to CYCLE (orig. ZYKLUS) by Eva Matz and Jonas Schmieta (Germany), based on a poem with the same title by Matz. The jury writes: “This film is messy. This film is a drama. It is a blood bath. It is offensive. It is defensive. This film is an outrage against a condition unknown to half of mankind. A woman, taking up space, breaks millennia-old taboos. And yes, it's fucking painful.”

The ZEBRino Poetry Film Festival audience also awarded an audience award.

The 2022 ZEBRino Award for the Best Poetry Film for children, youth and young adults was awarded to Héloïse Le Bail (France) for the film THE WOLF AND THE DOG (orig. LE LOUP ET LE CHIEN). It is based on the poem with the same title by Jean de La Fontaine. The film was funny and had a moral, animation and music were convincing in this timeless classic, that is how the audience jury aged 8 to 13 from the Max-Beckmann-Oberschule Berlin explained their choice.

The three best film adaptions of the festival poem The Haircut (orig. Anderkatt) by Georg Leß were provided by Beate Gördes (Germany), Patricia Delso Lucas (Belgium) & Johanna Wagner (Sweden) and Marc Neys (Belgium). Piu Gomes (Brasil) was given a special mention for his contribution.

This year's ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival focused especially on poetry, poetry films, film music and music from Ukraine. Two film programs gave an insight into the country's poetry film scene, and in Haus für Poesie 10 Ukrainian and 10 German-speaking poets read current poems; many of the Ukrainian poems were translated into German for the first time for the festival. The Ukrainian film musician Maryana Klochko held a masterclass; a retrospective showed the cinematic work of the Kyiv-born avant-garde pioneer Maya Deren, and the Ukrainian musicians Mavka and Poly Chain performed at the festival. In addition, a colloquium discussed the question of what role poetry can play in coping with trauma caused by war and flight.

The next ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival will take place in 2023.


THU 11/03–SUN 11/06/2022

ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival

Haus für Poesie & Kino in der Kulturbrauerei Berlin Schönhauser Allee 36, 10435 Berlin


The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival has been running since 2002. At the time of its inception it was the first international platform for short films based on poems – poetry films – and is still the biggest of its kind. It offers poets, film makers and festival organisers from all over the world a platform for creative exchange, and the attention of a wide audience. To this end, the festival includes readings, colloquia, and screenings moderated or joined by conversations. In addition, the festival offers participatory formats, such as master classes and workshops, in which participants will be able to learn more about scenes of poetry/film, their actors and aesthetics, networks and production conditions, and how one might initiate concrete collaborations in this field.


Press Images: https://www.haus-fuer-poesie.org/en/press/press-photos/


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ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is organised by Haus für Poesie and by eurobylon e.V. in cooperation with Kino in der Kulturbrauerei. Funded within NEUSTART KULTUR by the commissioner of the federal government for culture and media, by Deutscher Literaturfonds e.V. and the State of Berlin / Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa. With the kind support of Goethe-Institut, Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG, Universität der Künste Berlin, Universität Hildesheim, Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln, Deutsches Literaturinstitut Leipzig, Ukrainian Filmfestival Berlin, interfilm international shortfilmfestival Berlin, the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia and the Israeli Embassy in Germany. Presented by taz, tip Berlin, EXBERLINER and Yorck Kinogruppe.