Cadence Video Poetry Festival 2021 Review: Short Film Roundup

By Joan Amenn

Northwest Film Forum has sponsored the Cadence Video Poetry Festival for four years now and 2021 saw its biggest number of entries ever. The diversity of spoken words and images were amazing and so it is a real joy to give a brief review of some of the most memorable films below.

No Words

Year: 2020

Runtime: 5:40

Director: Mariam Al-Dhubhani

Poet: Ahmed Al-Kholaidi

Winner of the Collaborative Award for 2021, this haunting, grief stricken visual poem is a meditation on the continuation of life even as the evidence of tragedy is everywhere. The words of the poet Ahmed Al-Kholaidi are presented in both English and Arabic with alternating subtitles which somehow render them even more heartbreaking.


Year: 2020

Runtime: 2 minutes

Director: Emma Penaz Eisner

Poet: Jane Penaz Eisner

Winner of the Adaptation/ Ekpharasis Award for 2021, this animated visual feast hints at the darkness of a troubled relationship through ordinary household objects and seemingly innocuous images of flowers and a dollhouse. It is disturbing and moving in how it contrasts the outer appearance of an ordinary suburban life with the possibility of domestic violence happening behind the curtains of a neighbor’s home.


Year: 2020

Runtime: 7 minutes

Directors: Thelma Tunyi, Shanley Fermin

Poet: Tjawangwa Dema

Winner of the Northwest Artist Award, this film was created with the support of the University of Washington at Bothell. A powerfully understated look at a day in the life of a person who is cognitively impaired. Breathtakingly creative in using images to illustrate an inner dialog that is not necessarily linear or logical. A continuous reference to “deciduous memory” is a reminder that no one’s recollection is perfect, giving a sense of compassion and sympathy to this brilliant short film.

Dream Delivery

Year: 2018

Runtime: 9 minutes

Director: Yuan Zheng

A delivery driver has collapsed in exhaustion on a park bench and dreams of quite an adventure. This is a clever tale comparing the most overlooked of workers in our society to once great explorers bringing the riches of ancient lands to their wealthy patrons. It is very sympathetic to the toll urban life can take on those who struggle to make ends meet in modern China. Lovely camera work and convincing acting by a troupe of delivery servers bring home how emotionally and physically draining their lives can be always on the go.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s