Streaming April 28-May 1st, 2023
Laos I 18 mins I Documentary I 2022 I Hmong
w/ English subtitles
Commissioned by Audible UK and Aesthetica Short Film Festival for The Listening Pitch 2022
Birdsong explores the dying whistling traditions of the Hmong people of northern Laos, whose sonic exchanges straddle the boundary between music and speech.
The film follows the personal stories of three individuals from Long Lan village, as they reflect on their experience as practitioners of a vanishing musical language.
Birdsong portrays the collision of an ancient linguistic practice with the modern condition of urban life in Laos. The film explores how listening can change our perception of both society and nature, offering a glimpse into the philosophical relationship between sound and reality.
About the Artist
Omi Gupta and Sparsh Ahuja are filmmakers based between London, Melbourne and New Delhi.
Their first collaboration, 'Child of Empire', a VR experience of the 1947 Partition of British India, premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The film opened to glowing reviews in The Economist, and was also the front page article of The Hindu weekend following Sundance.
Sparsh is lead producer on 'Lost Migrations', a series of three animated shorts on postcolonial South Asia. Omi has written one episode in this series, called ‘Seabirds’, which follows the story of the Tamil exodus from Burma following the Japanese occupation in the Second World War. Their work has exhibited at the BFI and V&A, London.
Writer/Director: Omi Zola Gupta
Producer(s): Omi Zola Gupta
Exec Producers: Steve Melia
Lindsay Poulton (for The Guardian)
Jess Gormley (for The Guardian)
Line Producer: Bounsoo Thor
Co-Producer: Lao New Wave Cinema
DOP: Janamejaya Daroz
Contributors: Neng Chue Vang
Neng Chi Lee
Chia Por Lee
Jong Sue Lee
Film Editor: Giorgia Zarantonello
Translator: Bounsoo Thor
Colorist: Yash Soni
Sound Engineer: Athidxay Boundaoheuang