A place. A status. Unpredictability and uncertainty.
These might be the best descriptions for LIMBO Project, a short film portraying international students’ nuanced experiences and stories during COVID-19.
Hear stories of students from various multicultural backgrounds such as Vietnamese, Indian, American, Indonesian, Tuvaluan and many more.
The event is supported by the City of Melbourne as part of the COVID-19 Arts Grant and audiences can sign up to watch the free live premiere of the film which will be streamed at 5.30 PM on 26th August 2020. After the screening, viewers are invited to join an interactive event led by Catherine Simmonds where they will be able to have discussions with performers.
Story Is Connection
This project is led by Story is Connection (SIC), a not-for-profit arts organization that aims to give international students a voice through theatrical performance.
Led by Fieifei Liao, Catherine Simmonds and Irene Metter, the organization is the fruition of the trio’s passion for opening dialogues on what international students in Australia face on a day-to-day basis.
The trio are also involved in previous projects such as Act of Translation (2017) and Be You Be Scene (2018), which were highly praised. Both projects have received awards for their contribution to and representation of the international student community.
For the very first time, LIMBO Project will capture emotional stories told by international students on video. Previously, their projects concluded in a live theatrical production but due to restrictions, they have had to adapt quickly into creating an online film instead.
Juliet Wong Min, the lead graphic designer of SIC said bringing the project online has it’s surprising benefits.
“It brings around multiple voices. People from different locations can join us, and some of them are currently trapped outside Australia,” she noted.
Sheanis Chong, the administrative coordinator of SIC emphasised the reason why the students want to be involved.
“Some of them wanted to help people, to get something out of this experience; some of them just wanted people to know that they are not alone in what they’ve gone through.”
Through the process of making the short film, Catherine Simmonds, the artistic director of SIC, had one-on-one calls with international students via Zoom interviews, directed them to express their feelings and stories through gestures, sounds, and objects.
“How does that [limbo] feel like in your home, show me. Rubbish, trash, every little detail,” she said when guiding the students.
A rough cut of the LIMBO Project film was previously live screened at the CISA 2020 Conference on 15 July, followed by an interactive session during which the audience shared their feelings about the film.
Audiences reacted with words such as ‘resonant’ and touching’. They all agreed that the film was very relatable to all international students.
Feifei Liao, the managing director of SIC, said that the short film wants to show to everyone how international students are battling the situation, and to inspire fellow students out there that they are not alone,
“The raw feelings they had shown were authentic and touching,” she said.
In response to the virtual audience’s responses, Feifei said “they immediately wanted to share and become relatable.”
“Just like the tagline: don’t know where we are going, but we are going. We wanted to find out what keeps international students going, and also their struggles… where everything is unpredictable, and to send out these messages,” she said.
She hoped the film motivates other international students to share their experiences.
“I believe our LIMBO film can inspire everyone to listen to international students deeply and start to have genuine conversations with each other. When we say we are in this together, are we really in this together? I hope our film can encourage people to connect with humility, empathy, and a genuine heart. Financial support is always limited but empathy is truly invaluable. All the international students in the film have their struggles but they keep trying to find a way out. Their authentic storytelling and sharing will be powerful. Hopefully, international students can truly feel that they are not alone and find a way to keep going despite all uncertainties.”
Visit the Limbo Project event page to sign up for the live stream on Wednesday, 26th August 2020 at 5.30 pm. To know more about Story is Connection, visit their website and their Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter Facebook
Keep in touch with us to see our thoughts on the Limbo Project film.
Meld strongly advises international students to practice social distancing, abide by their city’s lockdown rules and to wear a mask outdoors during the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you need any help and questions send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your respective state’s Study Australia Partners.