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Like Shadows Through Leaves Awarded FIPRESCI Prize at Oberhausen

{if your bait can sing the wild one will come} Like Shadows Through Leaves wins the FIPRESCI Prize at Oberhausen 2021.
Still from the film Like Shadows Through Leaves, 2021. A lamp-lit tent stands in a dark landscape, it's orange interior matching the orange skyline
Still from Like Shadows Through Leaves, 2021. Courtesy of The Migrant Ecologies Project.

{if your bait can sing the wild one will come} Like Shadows Through Leavesa film by The Migrant Ecologies Project, has been awarded the FIPRESCI International Federation of Film Critics Award at the renowned Oberhausen International Short Film FestivalLike Shadows Through Leaves is conceptualized by Lucy Davis, Professor of Artistic Practices at Aalto University, together with: Sound Designer, Zai Tang; Cinematographer & Editor, Kee Ya Ting. Editor, Daniel Hui & Design Studio Crop Singapore.

The purpose of the International Film Critics Awards (the FIPRESCI Prize) is to promote film-art and to encourage new and young cinema. This year's jury is comprised of Fritz de Jong (The Netherlands), Valentina Giraldo Sánchez (Colombia) and Elina Reitere (Latvia).

"The film offers an artistic and investigative exploration resulting in a fascinating perceptive experience.  While creating a cinematic atmosphere, it reflects on urban and eco-social transformations from human and more-than-human relationships. In this way, Like Shadows Through Leaves allows us to think of cinema as an aesthetic tool that questions, resists, and reimagines the relationships between culture and climate change.” —Valentina Giraldo Sánchez, FIPRESCI. Read the full jury statement here.

The 28-minute film is part of a long-term engagement with Tanglin Halt, one of Singapore’s oldest social housing estates, which runs alongside a former railway track. The railway was owned by the Malaysian state until 2011, meaning that a ten-meter-wide zone of indeterminate-governance ran through the heart of Singapore for fifty years, playing host to a fecundity of more-than-human activities. Ornithologists have observed 105 species of birds in this patch. 

However, the land along the tracks is being repurposed as green corridor park through a new biotech and media hub. Once-famous modern housing blocks are being demolished and low-income residents relocated elsewhere. Unofficial tree shrines, community farms and gathering places have been cleared. Our repeated returns to this contested site aim to trace remaining fragments of calls, echoes, shadows memories and transformative encounters that still animate this zone, like shadows through leaves.

Due to COVID, this film was partially shot via WhatsApp from Helsinki to Singapore with shoots starting at 3am each morning in October-November 2020

Watch the trailer for the film on Vimeo.

Related article: Like Shadows Through Leaves Selected for 67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.

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