Inspired when Minneapolis filmmaker Angella Kassube turned one of his own poems into an animated short film, Todd co-founded Motionpoems with her in 2008.
Twelve years later, the world's leading poetry film company boasted 150 films in its archive, $150,000 in payments to artists, a European unit, Pulitzer-winning poets and Super Bowl ad producers among its talents, and robust education and public art programs.
Motionpoems films receive 200,000 views per month. More impressively, the credits on many individual films run 50 talents deep, which prices them at over $1M in value—nearly all of it volunteer.
At its heart, Motionpoems is about making poetry more accessible to readers, and creating collaborative opportunities for poets and filmmakers alike. With the addition of its public art program, the organization's mission evolved to read: Motionpoems champions multimedia collaborations that result in new forms and new conversations.
Visit additional entries on this site to learn about other Motionpoems projects:
Todd served as Executive and Artistic Director, managing annual budgets of up to a quarter of a million dollars, before Motionpoems closed up shop in 2021. Poetry filmmaking, however, continues to be part of Todd's creative practice.
It is often the case that visionary ideas become essential to a culture
after first having been considered merely amusing.
— Daniel Slager, Publisher and CEO of Milkweed Editions
The global center of filmmaking is Hollywood,
but the global center of poetry filmmaking is Minneapolis.
— Thomas Zandegiacamo Del Bel, Director, Zebra Poetry Film Festival, Berlin
Todd committed entire production seasons exclusively to female voices and artists of color. Each of Motionpoems's six guest season producers was a woman.
To schedule a screening, commission a film, volunteer, or support Motionpoems, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
My time at The Playwrights' Center introduced me to the thrill of cross-disciplinary collaboration, a thrill poets rarely experience. Motionpoems has revealed a great thirst for poetry among the world's filmmaking and animation community, and I love nothing more than when when these hybrid works of art come over the transom—complete, a vision fulfilled—and I get to share them with the poets who inspired them. I'm grateful to my co-producers, staff, board, and the many who've supported this initiative along the way.
For their extraordinary volunteer work as season and special project co-producers, Todd is especially grateful to Angella Kassube, Jennifer David, Amanda Miller, Carolyn Casey, Claire McGirr, Cori Cooperider, Roxanne Artesona, Lisa Effress, Helmie Stil, E. G. Bailey, Jeff Stevens, John Hermanson, and Eric Fawcett.