The short film Kinship, the national water agency PUB's take on brotherhood and family ties which left many Singaporeans teary-eyed earlier this year, has won an accolade overseas.
Released by PUB ahead of Hari Raya Puasa in June, the six-minute film bagged the "highly commended" award in the international category at the 24th Canberra Short Film Festival, and was the only Singapore film to win this year.
Kinship, written and produced by creative agency Tribal Worldwide Singapore, was directed by Roslee Yusof from Freeflow Productions.
It was screened twice at the Australia-based festival earlier this month and was lauded by the film festival's judges for its storytelling and production quality, said PUB in a statement on Monday.
Taking the "best film" accolade in the festival's international category was Portraitiste by Luxembourg director Cyrus Neshvad.
The locally run Canberra festival screened short films from Australia and around the globe across six locations in the Canberra region.
It has nine award categories, such as Canberra, national and international. This year's festival had more than 380 entries 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 past 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 Din and Zul, who grow up in an orphanage in the 1960s and are separated when 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 several 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 story in the form of a five-minute audio story titled Dear Din, From Zul, crafted by the creative team in collaboration with members of the public.
PUB's 3P Network director Cindy Keng said the international recognition will spur PUB to produce better materials to communicate with the public.
"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."