Khonsay: Poem of Many Tongues is a tribute and call to action for linguistic diversity. A 15-minute motion poem (poem on film), each line comes from a different treasure or minority language. 48 speakers each speak in their mother tongues, as line by line, language by language, the poem is created.
In the Boro tongue of North India, itself a treasure language, Khonsay means to pick up something with great care, as it is rare or scarce.
Author of 16 poetry collections, most recently Sing This One Back to Me (Coffee House Press), Bob Holman has taught at Columbia, NYU, Bard, and The New School. As the original Slam Master and a director at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club, Holman has played a central role in the spoken word and slam poetry movements of the last several decades. A co-founder and co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance, Holman's study of hip-hop and West African oral traditions led to his current work with endangered and minority languages. His work in film includes The United States of Poetry, a 5-part PBS series Holman co-created and produced; On the Road with Bob Holman; and the New York Emmy award-winning Poetry Spots series for WNYC TV. His most recent film, Language Matters with Bob Holman, a David Grubin film was winner of the Berkeley Film Festival's 2015 Documentary of the Year award and aired nationally on PBS.
Steve Zeitlin, Director of City Lore, received his Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.A. in literature from Bucknell University. He is the founding director of City Lore, an organization dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage. Prior to arriving in New York, Zeitlin served for eight years as a folklorist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and has taught at George Washington, American University, NYU, and Cooper Union. He is coauthor of a number of award winning books on America’s folk culture, including Giving a Voice to Sorrow: Personal Responses to Death and Mourning (Penguin-Putnam, 2001), and Hidden New York: A Guide to Places that Matter (Rutgers U. Press, October, 2006).
Saul Simon Macwilliams is a Los Angeles based film composer, producer, songwriter and music sound designer from York, Maine.
As a film composer and music sound designer, Saul has worked closely and extensively with composer and producer Dan Romer on recent films including his Oscar nominated feature ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’, ‘Digging for Fire’, ‘Finders Keepers’, ‘Mediterrania’ and as the music sound designer for the Netflix original ‘Beasts of No Nation’. Saul recently co-scored HBO's Emmy winning documentary 'Jim : The James Foley Story' as well as Amazon's ‘Gleason’, which took the 2016 Sundance Audience Award.