Pablo Neruda: The Poet's Calling
Red Poppy, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is producing the first feature documentary on Neruda in English, a lyrical tapestry of rare archival footage; incredible shots of his native land, captivating artistic poetic sequences, often with Neruda’s own voice, and compelling interviews with intimate friends and notable poets. There will be a Spanish version to show all over Neruda’s Latin America.
Compelling biography represents an idea larger than its individual subject--even if the subject is seemingly larger than life—in the case of Neruda, we use the theme of el deber del poeta, the poet’s duty, obligation, calling. For Neruda, poetry was a rallying cry for the social function of art, a way of bearing witness to suffering and injustice. The Poet’s Calling will create an intimate portrait of one of Latin America’s most colorful characters, and introduce a broad new audience around the world to the universal power of Neruda’s poetry, while captivating readers already familiar with Neruda with an intimate and beautiful cinematic tale providing much more insight on the man and his words.
Pablo Neruda: The Poet’s Calling is being produced by Red Poppy's President Mark Eisner, the project’s creator. Eisner edited the bestselling The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (City Lights), and wrote a breakthrough biography on Neruda to be published by W.W. Norton in conjunction with the release of this film, also entitled The Poet’s Calling. He has a Masters in Latin American Studies from Stanford, where he later was a Visiting Scholar.
In July 2004, on limited funds, Red Poppy rushed to have a cut of the film to show for a monumental celebration for Neruda’s Centennial in San Francisco, a festival that The San Francisco Chronicle called “a perfect birthday party.”
Despite being a preliminary rough cut, this initial version received strong reviews in Variety and The San Francisco Chronicle. The film subsequently went on to screen as a work-in-progress at festivals, campuses, gatherings, and homes around the world, from Yale to the Trieste (Italy) Latin American Film Festival.
We then returned to work on the final version of the documentary, including more research (Eisner has been working on his biography for W.W. Norton,) more interviews, rights clearance, and plans to film in high definition. We were also looking for a new director and editor with great expertise, and found both in Carlos Bolado, part of a new generation of Mexican filmmakers, who is now part of the production team. Bolado directed and edited Promises, nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary of 2002, a film about Israeli and Palestinian children. Early on, he edited Like Water for Chocolate. In 1998, the first feature he directed, Bajo California, won 2 Ariels, Mexico’s highest cinematic award, including Best First Work and Best Editing; Bolado was nominated for the Best Director Ariel. His latest film, Solo Dios Sabe, was shown in Sundance 2006 and many festivals worldwide. It will be released next spring by Palm Pictures. His next feature has Alec Baldwin signed for a lead role.
The Last Push
Due to the generous donations from hundreds of Pablo lovers, from $7 to $5000, we were able to shoot more vital material in Chile in 2008 and 2009. We still have to produce video sequences of four of Neruda's poems, and then edit a rough cut. We have just been awarded a major grant from Latino Public Broadcasting. Not only will this lead to the film being on PBS, but it makes us ever so close to the finish line. But we still need your help to cross it. This is a grassroots films, just like Pablo's poems, and your membership in Red Poppy will enable us to spread the power of poetry to the world. And look at what you'll get along with just that good feeling!:
- $35 - Free DVD of the movie once it is completed.
- $59 - Free DVD of the movie plus a copy of the bestselling The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems.
- $100 - All of the above, plus a Tinta Verde CD.
- $250 – All of the above, plus a copy of The Essential Neruda signed by Robert Hass (former US Poet Laureate), Jack Hirschman (Poet Laureate of San Francisco), and Mark Eisner.
- $500 – All of the above, plus your name mentioned in the movie’s credits.
- $1000 - All of the above plus have their name highlighted in the credits.
- $5000 – All the above, plus prominent credit.
As we have official 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS, if you're from the US, your donation is tax-deductible, less the cost of any gift you receive with it.
Join here now. Please help us continue our work while we await some major grants next year
for the finishing funds to get this important film out to the world.
Short on dinero? Give what you can everything helps. If everybody gives just a simple $7 we can keep the poetry flowing.
If you are interested in donating but would like more information, please email us and we will be glad to answer your questions.
Check out our Poppy Store to make your donation.
You can also mail a check made out to Red Poppy, 602 Mississippi San Francisco, CA 94107
If you're already a member, but would like to give more, simply purchase another membership of the value you'd like to give.
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Gracias y Paz
What people have said about the first version rough-cut...
“Well-crafted…smoothly handled package” – Variety
“Never losing any of its lyricism, this film deftly laces interviews with those who knew Pablo best with readings of his own magical works throughout. One need not be a Neruda fan to enjoy this documentary, nor even a poetry fan. It is, quite simply, the story of a great man who possessed great thoughts – and of a world that has forever become a better place because of them.”
– San Francisco International Latino Film Festival
”During his lifetime, Pablo Neruda became the world's most famous poet -- a giant of a man who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, counted Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera as close friends and was so politically active that he became a senator in his native Chile. Yet what emerges as much as anything in [Red Poppy's Exec. Director] Mark Eisner's fine documentary about him, is Neruda's ability to connect with everyday people -- not just in the superficial style of a glad-handing politician but in ways that were so genuine and lasting that the people he touched remember him, decades later, with love in their eyes.”
- San Francisco Chronicle