Spitting Ink

  • Ralph de Haan, Lars Siemens
  • Netherlands, The
  • 2009
  • 39 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for First Appearance, IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary
In the United States, a poetry subculture has grown up around a group of young, mostly non-white spoken-word artists. Although the work they produce is widely diverse, it tends to have a strong affinity with contemporary social reality and urban culture. The poets' work is not aimed at a mass audience, and they perform in small clubs. Each of them has found his or her own way to focus the power of the spoken word. Spitting Ink is a portrait of some of these artists. Interviews and live performances are interspersed with images of the streets of New York -- not the orderly, well-to-do neighborhoods, but their lively and sometimes dilapidated backstreet counterparts, with their graffiti-covered walls, subway trains, and bars. Spoken-word artist Mike Ladd speaks about this poetry's origins and background (its roots in gospel and other forms) and about how it reached a turning point with the arrival of rap. Beau Sia creates poetry both to impress the girls and to rebut prejudices about his Asiatic roots; Celena Glenn only writes once a year, when her head is full to overflowing and dozens of poems suddenly stream out.


  • 39 min
  • color
  • video
  • Spoken languages: English
Ralph de Haan, Lars Siemens
Ralph de Haan for HazazaH Pictures, Lars Siemens for HazazaH Pictures
State 31
Wouter Westendorp, Igor Martinovic, Pierre Colonna, Mark Schwartzbard, Ralph de Haan
Arthur Ivens, Manuel Rombley

IDFA history

World Premiere
IDFA Competition for First Appearance
IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary

Share this film

Print this page

IDFA history

This website uses cookies.

By using cookies we can measure how our site is used, how it can be further improved and to personalize the content of online advertisements.

 here everything about our cookie policy. If you choose to decline, we only place functional and analytical cookies