Shortlist, In Absentia by Adrian Francis
"In Absentia is about a young woman’s search, within herself, for identity. Mela Sharahim is a stateless teenager who found asylum in Denmark in 2015. She is of Palestinian descent, but was born in Syria, and has never had citizenship to any country. More than 10 million people are considered stateless (without nationality) around the world. Some, like Mela, are born stateless, while others become stateless. Mela’s parents, and grandparents, are refugees, having been displaced from the Palestinian Territories.
I wanted to make this story extremely personal, and to do that I felt I needed to depict specific feelings and emotions visually. How does it feel to be stateless? Having been to Palestine numerous times I connected with someone who was ethnically Palestinian, but had never been there. She described to me her longing for the feeling of Palestine, and the sense she had of being absent from the sights, sounds, and smells of her homeland.
My goal was to show, in images, how it feels to be displaced and at the same time long for something you have never experienced, yet nonetheless feel connected to. While still taking a documentary approach, I used abstract, blurry and dreamy visuals to convey a sense of emotional and physical detachment."