O! O! O! So! Many! Feelings! Last night we wrapped up five years of celebrating poetryfilm at Nick’s in Worcester, MA, and I am so proud! I’ll miss this,* but also, five years of filled houses has been a fantastic run that I’ll revel in for a very long time. This festival came from a tiny spark, a sheer, very personal idea, and grew into a celebration that this city (& beyond!) embraced, supported, and joined in the fun for – I’m wicked grateful, y’all. I feel like I just cannot say Thank You enough.

& what a delicious festival it was this year!

Nick’s took such good care of us from start to finish – shout-outs especially to Nicole, Sean, and Molly for giving us space in the must luxe establishment I’ve ever had the pleasure to run an event, for looking after our tech needs, and for bringing on the popcorn. Even in the flood year** when we had to move venues, you looked after us like we were family, and this year was no different. What a joy to set up the red carpet and eat and drink with you! What a delight to set up and feel like it was a homecoming.
Nick's Worcester

Matinee was fantastic! Light and relaxed, and full of people there to enjoy themselves. I keep thinking of Ava Duverney’s 2013 Keynote address at the Film Independent Forum when she talked about people who like movies, who like to sit in the dark together, and how much everyone at RHPFF arrives with just that on their agenda, and it makes me feel so so very good that we could give that to everyone. And we gave them the best of the showcases, the best of Worcester’s poetryfilm, the best of Rabbit Heart winners, and even (what a treat!) a screen premiere of Rachel Kann and Brad Cooper’s new film, Rock the Bells.

The Awards Ceremony & Viewing Party was also everything I could have hoped for – emcees Tony Brown & Missy Mitchell very almost wore pajamas to help us put the festival to bed, but arrived instead in dashing reds and blacks*** and set a fantastic tone for the night, leading us through not only the awards, but all the past Best Overall Production winners, and another screen premiere, this time H Paul Moon’s America by Walt Whitman in his own voice, from a wax cylinder recording.

What a fantastic audience this year! This was a vocal and excited crowd, from the moment Aisha Naseem appeared on screen, people were cheering (and calling out their name!) to singing along with the first film, Tracy Park’s Meat Wrapped in Dough, to audible gasps and sighs (and of course, cheers) in each category showing – not to mention the unabashed group giggle fit when Rachel Kann & Brad Cooper welcomed us back from intermission with their video.

 

I feel so… so… satisfied, ya’ll. The film was wonderful – our judges picked some stellar work from a big pile of work that was outstanding to begin with, and it showed. It SHINED. Big shout-outs to the judges this year, Aisha Naseem, Rushelle Frazier, Seren Divine, Jenith Charpentier, Bill MacMillan, and Allan Broskowitz. Big shout-outs to Karen Garrabrant, who came all the way from Atlanta and let me put her on the stage to receive Irene Pin’s acceptance, and to Molly MacArthur and Kerry McGurl, who made the show happen from doors to close. It was beautiful, and warming, and so very very good a note to close on. The bunny is to bed now, and may she sleep well. She earned it.

Five years is a long time, you know? And looking at it from over here in 2018, I really just want to keep saying thank you. There are people who have held me dearly during all of this, and I want you to know who they are and how incredibly grateful I am for them:

Jenith Charpentier and April Desmond, do you even know that you are my favorite collaborators? When I thought about this project, when everyone else squinted at me with pursed lips, you didn’t. You brought ideas to the table (sometimes literally!), you got behind the camera with me to test-drive, and we dreamed together, we made movies poetry together, we have reveled together in the What-Can-We-Do. When I was so worried two years ago that things might go sideways, you two and Karen Garrabrant were the incredibly capable people I trusted with the disaster plans. Thank you for believing, for being part of this, for helping navigate the big ol’ bus. Thank you.

Aisha, you have traveled along this thing with me from the start – you made that first film and I knew from that moment that you would be a big part of Rabbit Heart. I’m so happy that we could really dig in together this summer with the interns and immerse ourselves, not just as friends, but also in the moment of catching and harnessing magic. Thank you.

Beautiful family, Bill and Liberty and Allan – you have been my rock through all of this, and I don’t have good enough words to express how grateful I am that you have been on board with this through and through. Allan, everyone asks me how I got you to do all those What Not to Submit Monday videos, and I’m not sure I have a good answer except to say that you’re the same brand of goofy as me – you’re absolutely my favorite thing on the internet, btw – and thank you for every time you’ve been supportive of my projects. You’re my very favorite brother, you know ~.o Liberty and Bill, thank you for not just trucking along with me, but for handling details like pros, for listening to me cry when I get ridiculous,**** for holding me up when I think I can’t, for being the rocks that I can lean on, for letting me play out my ideas. Thank you.

Fam

(xD That’s my dad in the front, Bill & Lib to his right (& me & my mom), & Allan to his left with lovely Katy)

Rachel Kann, my shekinah sister, you amazing woman, thank you for everything you do. Every time we talk, I just want to do more things with you. Watching you hatch your incredible poetryfilms has stirred me from the belly out and filled me with joy. Just seeing you do the things you do with poerty, with film, with music and dance, has made me feel like I can reach higher, like I can lift a little more, like I can dream bigger, and like I can make Real Things in the World with those dreams. Thank you.

Poetry community of Worcester, thank you. Especially Sarah and Jessica Guimond, and Gary Hoare, for making (really really really good!) films for RHPFF. Especially Bob Gill and Angel Gonzales, Liz Heath, and Rushelle Frazier for judging and nudging, and helping keep this project on the rails. Especially Molly MacArthur and Kerry McGurl for helping the shows glide smoothly along (in fancy shoes, even!) Especially Tony Brown and Melissa Mitchell for emceeing and being the face of Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival for five years. Thank you.

And thank you to the folks who are part of this from afar! Thank you Jeff Knight & Cassidy Parker Knight (and Tony & Harrison too!), thank you Greg Brisendine, thank you Barbara Silcox and Bryna Kirzner, and Dave Bonta, and Ana Navio, and Scott Woods, and Helen Dewbery, and Linda Jackson, and Suzi Banks Baum, and the women of Vibrant Visionary Collage, the wonderful Shakti Women’s Writing Group, and everyone who’s cheerled for us, or sent us their films – there are so many of you that I’m just so grateful for <6 Thank you.

Thank you for five years of joy like a diaphanous glowing golden cloud around this project. Five years! I really can’t believe it’s been five years – but I can too, because there’s just been so much magic surrounding Rabbit Heart that I’m maybe a touch overwhelmed by all the good stuff. Thank you. Thank you all.

People keep asking me what I’m going to do with myself now that I’m not running a film festival anymore, and every time they do, my heart jumps a little. Because I know there’s A Very Good Project in the works, but I’m not yet sure which one to research and put into motion first. Hang tight with us – Doublebunny Press has an amazing group of people around it, and that ensures we’ll have something in the works in a year or so ❤

With enormous gratitude and love,
Sou

trophies 2018

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*Especially the part where we build a stop-animation trailer at the beginning of summer! Oh, interns, how you have filled my heart by stepping in at the spark of creative endeavours. I have so much gratitude and love for you all – Julie Wyman, Lori Shanley, Fay Bchara, Alli Jutras, Sarah Miegs, Audrey Dolan, THANK YOU! (& thank you Clark University & Worcester State University for sending such brilliant women our way!)

**Thank you, Hadwen Park Congregational Church, for taking us in & treating us right!

***Folks, I keep telling you about these glamorous rapscallions, but for real, look at the photo gallery on The Show page & you can see for yourself!

****Y’all, I’m a crier. Sad? Cry. Frustrated? Cry. Happy af? Yup, I cry then too.