ANIMAFEST PRO | ANIMAFEST SCANNER VII | SYMPOSIUM FOR CONTEMPORARY ANIMATION STUDIES | Panel 3 – ANIMATION AND POETRY
Expanding on Borrowed Words: The Animator as Author in Animated Poetry-Film - Georg Diederik Grobler (Fopspeen Moving Pictures / University of South Africa, Pretoria, SA)
The similarities and shared attributes between poetry and animation is well-recognised in animation theory. Within the medium of animation, poetry-film is not regarded as a genre, as the specific literary nature of the inspiration for animation shorts are often regarded as incidental. Within the medium of poetry-film however, the animated poetry-film could be regarded as a genre. The poetry-film is a somewhat peculiar instance of adaptation as it does not merely involve the narrative of the literary concept transposed into film. The actual text of the literary work is directly presented as voice-over or text on screen. As a result, the issue of authorship is hotly contested among practitioners of poetry-film. It is often insisted on being a literary genre rather than a cinematic one, the poet regarded as its author.
My argument is that when the poetry-film is animated, significant additional authoring by the filmmaker is required. I will look at the threefold authorial role of the animation-filmmaker in the lyrical poetry-film. Firstly, the reconceptualising of the substance of the text in visual terms in order to construct a screenplay; secondly the authoring of a visual style or the synchronic syntagm of the cinematic artefact, and finally the diachronic inscription – the frame by frame authoring of the animated film. These three instances of authorship in the animated poetry-film should aim at creating significant form while visually conveying the substance of its poem, presenting a truly kineiconic artefact.
Diek Grobler is a visual artist and has been working with animation for 20 years. His films for children have won awards at KROK, Hiroshima, Tindirindis and Teheran. Since 2009, he has focused in his personal work on animated poetry-film, and in 2014 and 2016 conceptualised and acted as creative director on a poetry-film project, Filmverse, a series of 24 animated films by 24 artists. Diek Grobler is currently doing a practice driven PhD in Art at the University of South Africa on the topic of Narrative strategies in animated poetry-film. He lives and works in Pretoria, South Africa.