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Like Shadows Through Leaves Selected for 67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

{if your bait can sing the wild one will come} Like Shadows Through Leaves is part of the Official Selection for the International Competition, 67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, where it will also have its world premiere.
Still from the film Like Shadows Through Leaves, 2021. A figure stands next to a minimalist wall wearing a cardboard bird mask
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 Leaves by The Migrant Ecologies Project received its festival laurels earlier this month in preparation for its world premiere as part of Oberhausen's International Competition 2021. The surround sound film - conceptualized by Lucy Davis (Professor of Artistic Practices in ViCCA) together with Sound Designer Zai Tang, and Cinematographer and Editor Kee Ya Ting - is one part of an ongoing engagement with Tanglin Halt, one of Singapore’s oldest social housing estates, which runs alongside a former railway track. 

"The railway was curiously owned by the Malaysian state until 2011 meaning that a subsequent ten-meter-wide zone of indeterminate-governance ran through the heart of Singapore since independence, playing host to a fecundity of more-than-human activities. Ornithologists have observed 105 species of birds in this single patch of urban scrub. Currently, the land along the tracks is being re-purposed as green corridor through a burgeoning biotech and media hub. Once-celebrated, modern housing blocks are being demolished and low-income residents relocated. Unofficial tree shrines, community farms and gathering places have been cleared. Repeatedly, The Migrant Ecologies Project returns to this contested site explore the calls, echoes, shadows memories, everyday magic and transformative encounters that still animate this zone."

The Migrant Ecologies Project was founded in 2009 by artist, art writer and educator Lucy Davis as an umbrella for collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiries into questions of art ecology and more than human connections, primarily but not exclusively in Southeast Asia. The project "embraces concerned explorers, curious collectors, daughters of woodcutters, miners of memories and ecological entanglements. The project evolves through and around past and present movements and migrations of nature cultures in art and life in Southeast Asia."

Oberhausen is the oldest short film festival in the world and one of the top five world festivals for experimental film. A premiere screened in this competition is often a springboard for selection in other festivals. It is also an Oscar qualifying festival and describes itself as "a catalyst and showcase for current developments, a forum for often controversial discussions, a discoverer of new trends and talents." The festival, too, reminds us of the value of short film: "Short film is still the most important source of film renewal, the experimental field on which future film languages are formed.

{if your bait can sing the wild one will come} Like Shadows Through Leaves
The Migrant Ecologies Project
Conceptualized by Lucy Davis, together with: Sound Designer, Zai Tang; Cinematographer & Editor, Kee Ya Ting. 
Editor, Daniel Hui & Design Studio Crop Singapore.

Like Shadows Through Leaves screens in the International Competition at the 67th edition of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, 1-10 May, 2021.

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