After a furious year of talent scouting across the UK, the judges finally met on Monday evening in the shadowy basement of the Poetry Cafe to view the 40 short listed films out of almost 400 submitted.
The judging panel was made up of poets, rappers, event programmers and bookers, and included alternative hip hop star Dizraeli; Bea Colley of the Southbank Centre; Ally Davies of the Poetry Society; and Joelle Taylor – founder, Artistic Director and team coach of SLAMbassadors UK.
The poetry films, each with a theme of ‘identity’, covered a vast range of issues and ideologies – from warnings about drug use and personal stories spoken for the first time, to love poetry for the Arab Spring and beautifully flowing rants. They looked at race, heritage, riots and gender. They came from the mouths of every section of the UK community and were united over the shared love of the word and the stage.
It was a hard decision to make. It is almost impossible to divine who might be the spoken word star of tomorrow from a 1 or 2 minute excerpt – but after 6 solid hours of heated debate and coffee spilt down shirts, that is precisely what we tried to do. Take a deep breath.
The winners are:
The winners will be brought to London, put up in a hotel and attend a weekend Master Class with Joelle Taylor before launching their professional careers at the 100 Club on Oxford Street, London on April 1st 2012. Also performing at the gig will be Chris Preddie OBE, Joelle Taylor and Dizraeli.
Thank you so much to everyone who entered. It has been an incredible year for spoken word, and better is still to come. It’s a brave new word out there…
The Young Poets Network will be running a competition for VIP tickets to see the SLAMbassador Showcase on April 1st. All you have to do is to watch the 8 finalist films, select the one you feel should win The People’s Choice prize, and give a well considered reason. The winners will receive complimentary VIP tickets and get to meet the stars of the show. More info will be posted on the Young Poets Network site.