Comma Film

Comma Film is a new strand of Literature Northwest’s activities, run in conjunction with Comma Press, dedicated to fostering links between developing filmmakers and writers across the North of England.

Since October 2006, the project has coordinated active collaboration between filmmakers and writers, leading to the adaptation of short, previously published texts – either ultra-short ‘poem-films’ (1-4mins) or dramas based on short stories (5-15mins) – through a series of challenges and screenings. Driven by nothing more than the filmmakers’ own enthusiasm, and without any direct funding (in all but two cases), the project has resulted in over 30 new films, and promoted some of the best new filmmaking talent in the region; with a simple philosophy of distinguishing and emphasising the importance of the writer, and the original text, in the filmmaking process.

For all the lip-service currently being paid to the importance of the writer, this is the only project to entirely separate the roles of the director and original writer, by commissioning adaptations exclusively.

Stage 1 of the project was to commission a series of ‘film-poems’: very short filmic interpretations of poets’ work, using poets from or based in the North of England. This first stage saw seven screenings to date at the following festivals: Manchester Literature Festival Oct 06 (Cornerhouse), Huddersfield Literature Festival Mar 07, Chorlton Arts Festival May 07, New Islington Festival Sep 07, National Poetry Day and Manchester Literature Festival Oct 07 (at Cornerhouse), and Salford Film Festival Nov 07.

These screenings featured films by Kate Jessop, Gwen Osmond, Lisa Risbec, Charlotte Caetano, Sharon Keighley, Scott Davenport, Sarah Eyre, James Fisher, Rob Dunne, Tom O’Grady, Christine Flannery, Mark Haig, Fiona Collins and Adam Barker.

The work interpreted included poems by Simon Armitage, Joolz Denby, David Constantine, Gaia Holmes, Helen Clare, Ed Barton, Shamshad Khan, Julian Daniel, Mike Garry, Segun Lee-French, Rebecca Goss and Eleanor Rees.

View an example of a past challenge

Stage 2 of the project will be to select a handful of filmmakers from the film-poem projects to work towards a small number of adaptations of short stories from various publications including The Book of Leeds, The Book of Liverpool, and Phobic. For enquires about any of these projects, email ra.page@commapress.co.uk

For more information visit the Comma Film website.