SINGAPORE – National water agency PUB's take on brotherhood and family ties with the short film Kinship left many Singaporeans teary-eyed earlier this year and, now, the film has won an overseas accolade.
Released by PUB ahead of Hari Ray Puasa, the six-minute short film bagged the "highly commended" award in the international category at the 24th Canberra Short Film Festival, the only Singaporean film to do so this year.
Kinship was written and produced by creative agency Tribal Worldwide Singapore, and directed by Roslee Yusof from Freeflow Productions.
Kinship was screened twice at the Australia-based festival and was lauded by the film festival's judges for its storytelling and production quality, said PUB in a statement on Monday (Sept 16).
Taking the "best film" accolade in the festival's international category was Portraitiste by Luxembourg director Cyrus Neshvad.
The locally run Canberra Film Festival screened short films from Australia and around the globe across six locations in the Canberra region.
The festival has nine award categories, including the Canberra, national and international categories. This year's festival had more than 380 entries globally across the various categories, and the award winners were announced in Canberra on Sunday.
The international category is for films made outside Australia that run under 20 minutes and have been produced in the last 18 months.
Kinship, which was shared on PUB's Facebook and YouTube channels in May, has garnered more than 1.5 million views.
The agency said the film underscores the unbreakable bonds of brotherhood by drawing parallels between water and kinship.
The film tells the story of two brothers, Din and Zul, who grow up in an orphanage in the 1960s.
The duo are separated when the elder brother, Din, is adopted and Zul is left behind.
As an adult, Din returns with his son to the reservoir where he played with Zul and finds a message of forgiveness from his brother carved years ago into a wooden shed by the water.
The central message of mending relationships and valuing family ties, central to the spirit of Hari Raya, left its mark on many netizens, with many asking for a second part of the film to bring closure to Din and Zul's story.
In July, PUB released an ending to the brothers' story in the form of a five-minute audio story titled Dear Din, From Zul.
The audio story was crafted by the creative team in collaboration with members of the public.
Director of PUB's 3P Network, Ms Cindy Keng, said the international recognition will spur PUB to produce better materials to communicate with the public in future.
"We are extremely grateful and delighted to receive this international recognition. It is a testament to the creativity and hard work by the teams that created the film, and also the immense support from the public," she said.
"The theme of kinship and the preciousness of water is truly universal and cuts across language and cultures."