AWI Short Film Competition

Frozen Out

An immigrant artist retreats to frozen prairies and forests, hoping to escape the anxieties of dislocation and find a meaningful story. Delivered as a film-letter to the protagonist’s sister in rural China, the film meditates on self-exile, home, family, and identity.

Content heads up: brief reference to homophobic attitudes

Director: Hao Zhou

Hao Zhou is a filmmaker and photographer from Nanchuan, China. Across mediums, Hao develops work with experimental tendencies, often centering LGBTQ+ characters and themes. His notable creative experiences include making two feature films, writing for, and taking part in programs such as Cannes’ Cinéfondation Résidence and Berlinale Talents. Hao’s work has been screened at numerous festivals, with awards or nominations at the Berlinale, Hong Kong, Black Movie, Nara, Queer Lisboa, and others. Currently Hao is based in Iowa City in the US.

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Anxiety is the most common mental illness out there, and it takes a lot of different forms. Experiencing some level of anxiety is a normal...


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