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St Paul's grand old Depot becomes a 3D screen for poems-turned-films in this colossal act of placemaking. All aboard!

IMPORTANT NOTE TO LAST-MINUTE POETS: This campaign closes around noonish, but your submission is acceptable till midnight Jan 15. To fully qualify, submit at this link, and send your $7 entry fee with a Jan 16 postmark to Motionpoems, c/o Egg Creative, 400 1st Avenue North, Suite 420, Minneapolis MN 55401.

Hi! I'm glad you're here.

I'm excited to tell you about my project, "Arrivals and Departures," a multi-disciplinary act of community meaning-making designed to celebrate St Paul's Union Depot! 

Saved from demolition and beautifully restored thanks to citizen action, Lowertown Saint Paul's historic Union Depot is a civic triumph that will, over the coming years, become a major hub of Twin Cities multimodal transit systems including a new light-rail line, relocated Amtrak station, bus terminal, Inter-City rail, bike shop ... even an electric vehicle station! I'm wildly proud of it. And I want to celebrate ... by doing something beautiful. Thanks for taking a look.  

                                                                                 - Todd Boss

The plan 

Here's what I plan to do:

  • host a "call for poems" on the theme of "Arrivals and Departures," (entry details here) ENTER NOW!
  • offer finalist poems to filmmakers, and 
  • project the resulting short films as a free block-wide 3D experience on the screen-filled facade of the Depot, Oct 2-4, 2014. 

If you help me reach my Kickstarter goal, I can: 

  • include more poems + films, 
  • document the project in a short film so that the world can see it, and
  • lay plans for mounting this project annually over the next four years to include national, then international artists.

This :08-second video demo illustrates the scale of this colossal project. 

(Projectors will be mounted higher. Demo does not show screens. The lawn will make a great viewing area. Speakers in the lawn area will deliver audio.)

In the demo above, the block-long Depot has been turned into a rail car, gliding through the mountains ... but filmmakers will also be able to play with the columns and cornice, delivering viewers into deep space or deep sea, transforming the building in endless ways! 

Here's an example of what's possible: 

It'll be huge. Five poems. Five films, departing every 5 minutes like trains, looping till late-night during the Saint Paul Art Crawl, when thousands of art-lovers already flock to Lowertown.

I'm a passionate evangelist for poetry, and I believe that our public spaces could be more "poetic." This project is not about me or my poet friends. It's about inviting everyone to write a poem, and sharing those poems (in film!) with the community. 

About Motionpoems

When I co-founded Motionpoems with animator/producer Angella Kassube in 2008, I knew we were onto something big. Angella and I believe that more people will get acquainted with contemporary poetry if film can make the introductions. Kickstarter backers helped us get Motionpoems up and running with a successful $15,000 campaign in 2011 that resulted in bigger filmmaker stipends and formal partnerships with some heavy-hitting publishers, including Copper Canyon, Graywolf, Milkweed, and Scribner's Best American Poetry. Since then, a half dozen other publishers have joined them. Last spring, our annual premiere of new films was co-presented by the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis-St Paul International Film Festival. And Forbes called our films "astonishing, powerful, and hilarious."

If you've never experienced a Motionpoem before, here's a sample

At motionpoems.com, you can subscribe free to get a new motionpoem each month! 

A new love: public art

Last summer I created my first large-scale public art project, a month-long installation with Swedish artist Maja Spasova on the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis: 

Project 35W, by Todd Boss and Maja Spasova
Project 35W, by Todd Boss and Maja Spasova

A floating "meditation garden," the project marked the 5th anniversary of the tragic 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge by combining Maja's vision for 35 anchored life-rings in the water and my thirty-five 35-word "Fragments for the 35W Bridge," a poem that was available by phone and published on opening day in the Minneapolis Star Tribune

While creating this project, I discovered the poetic power of public art. I was hooked. I've been a student of Forecast Public Art's resource library ever since. Then last Spring, I was awarded a $5,000 McKnight Career Development grant from Forecast Public Art for my proposal to mount "Arrivals and Departures" at Union Depot. A great honor ... and a drop in the bucket! The grant helped me do the R&D that revealed how much work I still have ahead of me (... and how much $$ I'll need)! 

"Arrivals and Departures" is the beginning of a new public art program for Motionpoems. "Like" the project on Facebook for updates!

It takes a village

Arrivals and Departures" is a huge project: It involves poets, filmmakers, producers, musicians, installers, projectionists, designers, post-production geniuses, lawyers, publishers, technicians, sign hangers, security guards, web developers, marketing people ... 

On the other hand, that's what makes this kind of work worth doing. Big projects like this are massive puzzles; every choice presents unique challenges. I love working with people to solve problems. In the same way that Motionpoems wouldn't exist without the superheroes at Egg Music and HDMG Shoot Post Design Audio, I couldn't create "Arrivals and Departures" without the extraordinary professionals at Pixel Farm and Avex, who've been with me every step of the way. 

This train has left the station

I've written dozens of proposals to private foundations, city funding initiatives, and government granting organizations, and the budget for this project is coming together! The last 20% of the budget is all that's left to raise. A Kickstarter campaign has always been part of my budget plan, and now it's time: I need you to contribute and/or share this project with your friends. Prospective funders are watching this campaign closely. By backing it, you send them a message: that you like what you see, and you want to see more. 

If we get it right the first time, this project, repeated annually, has the potential to become a major cultural asset to Saint Paul. It will also be Motionpoems' best calling-card for doing similar projects elsewhere. And poets, filmmakers, publishers, and communities will all have something new and extraordinary to celebrate!

What you'll get

I've assembled a bunch of fun rewards for backers:

The complete list of pledge rewards is in the right-hand column ... including a master class, DVDs, books, subscriptions, posters, the works. 

Thanks!

Kickstarter is a place where passions come together to make dreams come true. I thank you on behalf of the poets, filmmakers and audiences whose lives your contribution will touch. 

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

This project is already underway. An R&D grant from The McKnight Foundation / Forecast Public Art has helped me lay groundwork / do legwork / file paperwork.

Meanwhile, funding is starting to come forward from corporate, private foundation, and civic sources. Grants are in hand from the City of St Paul, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The St. Paul Foundation, and others. The Loft Literary Center and major library systems have signed on to promote the poetry contest, while IFP-MN will partner to manage filmmakers. A production team is in place, and bids are in hand from digital effects and staging companies that've already done site visits and prepared detailed plans.

This is not a commissioned project. Motionpoems is a nonprofit overseen by a board of directors. I am determined to make this project happen and I'll do it professionally and in partnership with great people and organizations.

If for some unforeseen reason I don't get needed funding, the project will be scaled back (number of films) but I'll still present it, and it will still be glorious. You, as an essential part of the plan, will get frequent updates as the event approaches.

A rain-date will be set. If for some other technical reason the project can't be completed, it will only be delayed, not canceled.

Your support is helping me pay filmmakers better, document the project beautifully, and lay plans to mount it annually so that it can touch even more artists and audiences.

FAQ

  • We’re hoping to green light at least 5 films, and as many as 10. Each film will be less than 5 minutes in length, so total run time will be 25-50 minutes. But the program will loop, so that audiences can stay as long as they like. We’ll probably begin around 8pm and go till 11, something like that.

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    10 backers

    ALL DONORS will be thanked at http://motionpoems.com and will receive a free subscription to Motionpoems. We're grateful for contributions of ANY SIZE.

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    63 backers

    ENTRY FEE. Got a poem for this project? Enter it at motionpoems.com! To qualify, first pledge here, or add $7 to any other pledge category. (Be sure to note author's name, if different, when you pledge.) Todd hates entry fees; but we've been advised to instituted one, in order to maximize our judges' attention to SERIOUS ENTRIES ONLY.

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    18 backers

    FIRST LOOK! When filmmakers post, you'll get a sneak peek: access to a private site where the films will be available for viewing, BEFORE they appear on the Depot itself. Primo!

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    5 backers All gone!

    A one-year subscription to AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW, a content partner for our next regular season of films at motionpems.com. (CAUTION: One issue and you will be hooked for life.) A $25 value! Courtesy of APR.

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    15 backers

    Get THANKED ON THE DEPOT ITSELF. Between films, we'll throw your name up on the (big!) screen. You'll feel 40 feet high. (Can't be there? We'll send you a photo!)

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    26 backers

    SAMPLER DVD of Motionpoems' best-loved shorts. Enjoy them on a big screen TV in full HD or share them with your school or library! Features beautiful poems by Robert Bly, Erin Belieu, Thomas Lux, Jane Hirshfield, Mark Strand and more.

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    A one-year subscription to THE BELIEVER, a content partner for our next regular season of films at motionpoems.com. That's $15 off their rate, and oodles off the cover price! Courtesy of THE BELIEVER.

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    15 backers

    A two-fer! Signed copy of Todd Boss's most recent poetry collection, PITCH (W. W. Norton, 2012), winner of the Midwest Bookseller's Choice Award. PLUS sampler DVD of Motionpoems' best-loved shorts!

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    8 backers Limited (12 left of 20)

    Signed copy of UNION DEPOT, the book! Hot off the presses, it's loaded with glossy photos and stories about this important building. (Author John W. Diers will also be signing books at the screening, btw.) Courtesy: University of Minnesota Press.

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    2 backers Limited (198 left of 200)

    EXCLUSIVE full-color POSTER PRINT "Union Depot" by artist Adam Turman. Archival, 22 x 34 and suitable for framing. Todd put his in a red plastic frame he bought at Michael's for $9.99 and you know what, it looks pretty hot. Roll-shipped. NOT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE! Courtesy Union Depot.

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    16 backers Limited (59 left of 75)

    EXCLUSIVE SIGNED-BY-THE-ARTIST full-color POSTER PRINT "Union Depot" by Adam Turman. Archival, 22 x 34 and suitable for framing. Roll-shipped. NOT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE! Courtesy Union Depot.

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    1 backer Limited (14 left of 15)

    Extra! Get the original STAR TRIBUNE Variety front page (Aug 1, 2012) that ran Todd's 35-part "Fragments for the 35W Bridge" in its entirety, the poem's first time in print. NOT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE. Signed. Courtesy of the STAR TRIBUNE.

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    1 backer Limited (11 left of 12)

    A signed, limited edition FLIP BOOK, designed by Motionpoems co-founder Angella Kassube. Flip your way through Todd Boss's 12-word poem, "God Flips," written just for the project and unpublished elsewhere. EXCLUSIVE! (see video demo at left)

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    11 backers Limited (29 left of 40)

    VIP ticket to the artist reception at the big event! Meet the poets and filmmakers before the screening. Meet Todd Boss and Motionpoems staff. Then go behind the scenes and meet technicians and crew. Who knows, maybe you'll join us for a drink afterward. ADD $20 FOR ADDITIONAL TICKETS.

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    1 backer Limited (14 left of 15)

    POETRY WORKSHOP-BY-PHONE with Todd Boss! You'll be invited to submit two poems and join 5 other backers in one of 3 one-hour workshops-by-phone that fits your schedule.

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    0 backers Limited (15 left of 15)

    11x17 archival PRINT of Todd Boss's poem "The World Is in Pencil" (pictured at LEFT), hand-drawn in carpenter's pencil by calligrapher Dennis Ruud. Poem originally appeared in POETRY magazine, then in Todd's second collection, PITCH. Numbered 6-20, signed by author and artist. Each one's unique! Roll-shipped. Very limited edition. Additional print details at toddbosspoet.com. (Add any other pledge amount for additional rewards, but specify rewards when pledging.)

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    0 backers Limited (9 left of 9)

    Join Todd Boss for an APPRENTICESHIP that goes behind the scenes of this incredible project. Learn the ropes, study the budgets, understand the relationships, meet collaborators and funders, watch the crew set it up and test it, experience opening night, ask anything. A career-builder! No experience necessary. Two days, 8+ hours of group instruction, Oct 1-2, 2014, dates subject to change, must be willing to volunteer for simple duties on-site. (Pledge covers tuition only. Transportation, accommodations and expenses not provided.)

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    5 backers

    Get THANKED IN FILM, on-screen! Your name will appear on the Union Depot in one of the films' closing credits.

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    Todd Boss will SKYPE into your book group, library, or classroom and talk about his work. Talk poetry, public art, film, private commissions, anything you find at toddbosspoet.com worth discussing. Local to the Twin Cities metro area? Even better: He'll come to you in person.

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    You get ALL THE FOLLOWING rewards listed above: PITCH, poster, sneak peek, DVD, film credit, VIP ticket to the reception! ADD $20 FOR ADDITIONAL TICKETS.

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    3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)

    Your name (as ASSOCIATE PRODUCER) lands in the credits of one of the films.

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Funding period

- (58 days)