1. In June 2019, Moving Lyrics conducted a summer film school for the Russian-language students of the famous Indiana University Summer Language Workshop. After only two weeks, students and their professors learned the basics of filmmaking and produced 6 films, based on some classical Russian poems (by Mikhail Lermontov, Korney Chukovsky, and Dmitri Aleksandrovich Prigov), a classical Ukrainian poem by Lesya Ukrainka, a prosaic excerpt from Joseph Brodsky’s essay, and also a poem written in Russian and translated into English by the very professors of the IU Summer Language Workshop. This was an immersive experience for the participants as well as the organizers of the workshop, demonstrating that creative work aimed at an artistically valuable result, is a catalyst in learning a language and understanding a culture. Transforming poems into films turned out to be both creative and analytical, but most important, the students—and their mentors!—were carried away by being the co-authors of the poems they cinematized, so that at some point, while mastering the language of cinema, the students had almost forgotten they were interacting with us and one another in their second language, Russian, which was exactly one of the goals of this particular version of Moving Lyrics. The IU Language Summer Workshop exceeded our highest expectations, and working with the students and the professors teaching them was a privilege. We hope to keep developing Moving Lyrics in this direction as well, from an international festival into a communal endeavor—across media, across languages, across universities, and across borders. Our special thanks to Professor Maria Shardakova and Professor Kathleen Evans for making Moving Lyrics at IU a reality. Below are the highlight films of Moving Lyrics at IU as well as the photos from our workshops and the screening with a Q&A.

Beer (based on Prigov’s poem) by Clare Angeroth Franks:


To My Piano (based on Lesya Ukrainka’s poem) by Ani Abrahamyan and her team:


Prayer (based on Lermontov’s poem) by Yuriy and Sarah Kravets:






2.  Voice of America has made a news report about us, featuring a prominent contemporary poet, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and T. S. Eliot Prize winner Paul Muldoon. The festival has reached a new level. We sincerely appreciate the attention MOVING LYRICS has received. THE NEWS STORY:

3. SCREENINGS: The North American premiere (at Barnard College on May 2nd) and the award ceremony (at Hunter College on May 7th) have taken place; the European premiere took place in Moscow on May 15th 2018. The photos, the results—and the films!—are below.


Grand-Prix — Eliza Dante
1st Place — Svetlana Matyushina
2nd Place — Ben Kogos
3rd Place ​- Dasha Badikova

New York Audience Award — Svetlana Matyushina

Best Translation (by a participant) — George Liseyev

Best Reading — Katya Balakireva

Creative Multilingualism — Aleksandra Jakubczak


Our team of award-winning filmmaker and faculty from Hunter College, Barnard College, and Moscow State University is delighted to introduce to you MOVING LYRICS: SIGHT THE CITY, RECITE IN THE CITY—a festival of short poetry-based essay films made by the students from our institutions. The Russian title of the festival is ПОЭТ С КИНОАППАРАТОМ: СТИХИ В ГОРОДЕ И СТИХИЯ ГОРОДА.

The festival keeps growing—from 12 participants last year to 16 this one—and we are open to students from other U.S. and Russian institutions joining us in the future.


Call for Applications (currently expired; can be used to advertise the festival to your students in the future)

WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE DOING? If you are a student of the above-mentioned universities, or other colleges in America and Russia, we encourage you to apply if you are keen on both poetry and film.

If you participate in the festival, you will make a short essay film based on a poem of your choice. If you are New York-based, this will have to be any Russian or Slavic poem, original or translation. If you are Moscow-based, this has to be an Anglophone poem, original or translation. At the end of the project, your creative visualizations of poetic masterpieces will be screened at Barnard College, Hunter College, and Moscow State University.

To apply, fill out the questionnaire e-mail your answers to and

DEADLINE: expired.


You need not be adept in filmmaking or poetry; if you apply and get selected, we will teach you the basics of filmmaking and guide you through the formal and meaning-related intricacies of poetry. The idea of the project is to reanimate an appreciation of poetry in the public thanks to such a popular medium as film; it is to draw from poetry in viewing the world through the camera lens; finally, it is to rediscover and defamiliarize poems in the language of cinema.



  • In America alone, one of world leaders, we see a dramatic decrease in the number of people who read poetry. Meanwhile, the role of poetry is crucial in sustaining, sharpening, and advancing our language and thought.
  • We want to use such a powerful and popular medium as cinema to promote poetry, just as we want poetry to enrich our images and imagination.
  • We appreciate the freedom of personal expression, which poetry offers, and it is this freedom that we want our students to experience. They are the ones to decide where they are going with their projects. They get to choose a poem, its translation; they get to interpret it creatively though filming, editing, and recording sound.
  • Our goal is to create a community sharing our values at an international and inter-institutional level.
  • We believe that such civic, academic, and cultural initiatives as ours compensate for the lack of diplomacy between the U.S. and Russia in today’s world.


We are deeply grateful for the support of The Presidential Fund for Student Engagement (Hunter College) and The Harriman Institute (Columbia University).

HOW DID THE PROJECT GO LAST YEAR? In 2017, our participants were students from Hunter College, Columbia University, Barnard College, New York University, and, last but not least, Moscow State University, where the festival ran under the title ПОЭТ С КИНОАППАРАТОМ: СТИХИ В ГОРОДЕ И СТИХИЯ ГОРОДА. The premiere of the festival took place at Hunter College in May 2017. A week later the films were screened again at Moscow State University.

The films of the participants of Moving Lyrics 2018


The films of the participants of Moving Lyrics 2017


Grand-Prix — Svetlana Matyushina

1st Place — Elizaveta Kuznetsova and Daria Duvidzon

2nd Place — Phoebe Markley

3rd Place — Adele Arshavskaia

Best Foreign Film —  George Liseyev (Russia), Adele Arshavskaia (U.S.)

Best Editing — Eliza Dante

Best Translation (by a participant) — Elaine Wilson



Panel 1

Project leaders and participants

Project Leaders

Olga Lvoff        

Basil Lvoff        and

Yakov Klots      

Bradley Gorski

Ruslan Poddubtsev

Panel 2

Interested but confused?

E-mail your questions to Basil Lvoff ( and