Until she moved to Milan in 2013 for a student exchange programme, Israeli animator and illustrator Daphna Awadish took the idea of home for granted. Far away from everything familiar, torn between exploring new horizons and missing her home, she found herself listening to stories of people who were living far away from their birth place.

Important questions arose: “How do people decide where their home is? Are they free to decide or forced to look for a new home? What defines ‘home’?”

Awadish decided to seek an answer for these questions, and weave a commentary on immigration, in her graduate film (above), an animated documentary titled Journey Birds. The short film explores the notion of home by telling stories of four immigrants, accompanied by Awadish’s wistful animation.

“I discovered various blends in each character but the feeling of pain of longing and fracture was common to all. But at the same time, there was also curiosity and a strong will to discover something new and even love it,” wrote Awadish in Director’s Notes.

The entire film was shot on a phone, while the frames were printed and scanned using an old printer that creates the low-tech effect and nostalgic atmosphere in the film. The characters were made to appear as a hybrid of man and bird to draw a parallel between immigrants and migratory birds.