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Tin House Reels Launches. Ilana Simons

Welcome to Tin House Reels, a monthly feature on The Open Bar dedicated to the craft of short filmmaking. We will be featuring videos by artists who are building new bridges between visual art, music, and text. The films we post vary in terms of how they came to be: Some are by animators with a literary ear, some are by poets who use a camera to capture the world around them, some are collaborations between people who principally find their home in literature and those who find their home in visual arts.

Our aim is to showcase work that focuses on the exciting relationship that can exist between the spirit of written literature and the possibilities of film.

The series will be curated by Ilana Simons, a filmmaker whose illustrated version of William Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity launches our series today.

Of her film, Ilana says, “Empson’s book is a masterpiece of literary theory: a detailed exploration of the history and definition of literary ambiguity. My film was inspired by Maira Kalman, whose illustrated version of William Strunk and E.B. White’s Elements of Style turned the rules of grammar into an accessible wonderland. The rules of grammar are made distinct in a new way with visual whimsy.”

Moving forward, we will now be accepting submissions for Tin House Reels. Please upload your previously unbublished videos of 15 minutes or less to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link of your work to tinhousereels@gmail.com.

But enough with the previews. Let’s get on to the show.


Ilana Simons is a psychologist and filmmaker. She is the author of A Life of One’s Own: A Guide to Better Living through the Work and Wisdom of Virginia Woolf. You can further explore her films on Vimeo.

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