One poem, one cameraman, two films! Reel Festivals commissioned Alastair Cook who in turn commissioned Swoon (Marc Neys) to make films for a piece by the Iraqi poet Zaher Mousa, using footage shot in Iraq by American poet Ryan Van Winkle. Here’s how Alastair introduced his film: Born to Die is a poem by Iraqi poet Zaher Mousa and is in his native Arabic. There are no subtitles, as I want you to hear to the emotion in this great poet’s voice. The English text of the poem is available on the Vimeo site if you click through. Born to Die was a commission from Reel Festivals and was shot in Iraq for Filmpoem by Ryan van Winkle. It is a pair with Swoon, with him making the English language counterpart translated by Lauren Pyott and read by Jen Hadfield; this is the second film we have paired, the first being Aan Het Water, commissioned by Felix Poetry Festival. These films are part of a larger collaboration between Reel Festivals and Zaher Mousa. Check out Mousa’s essay, “Reel Festivals – Dialogue through Poetry.

All images and films are copyright Alastair Cook 2016 unless expressly indicated otherwise.