Shorts Competition, block I
“Freedom Swimmer” documents a mass migration story from the 20th century, which is relatively untold in the Western world – and offers context for a city in turmoil today. A granddaughter asks her grandfather to recount his journey from China, swimming to Hong Kong in the 1970’s.
From the 1950’s to 1980’s Hong Kong was a symbol of freedom to many Chinese, glimpsed across the water. Two million mainland residents tried to swim across the Southern sea border. Many died trying or were captured and sent to labour camps. He was one of the lucky ones. This animated film explores the effect of past cultural trauma, allowing the audience to find a new perspective on the current situation. It reflects the depth of a symbol that is ‘freedom’ – that Hong Kong both represents and holds onto so tightly.