'Shadow'.

Back to Back Theatre’s Shadow is the winner of the SXSW 2022 Audience Award for the Visions strand of the festival.

The 56-minute film, based on the Geelong theatre company’s play ‘The Shadow Whose Prey The Hunter Becomes’, follows a trio of activists with intellectual disabilities who hold a town hall meeting about the future impacts of artificial intelligence. What begins as a polite discussion quickly descends into bickering and chaos.

Shadow is directed by Bruce Gladwin, produced by Alice Fleming and co-conceived and co-authored by Back to Back’s core performing artists Michael Chan, Mark Deans, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, Simon Laherty and Sonia Teuben.

Almost all the actors on screen are people with disabilities, and the majority of the crew roles were fulfilled by interns who identify as people with disabilities, supported by professional mentors.

Shadow builds on Back to Back’s previous work in screen, Oddlands, which was produced with Matchbox Pictures. Made during lockdown in December 2020, it was designed to create as many opportunities as possible for people with disabilities to get experience in the screen industry.

In a statement Gladwin said: “Winning the audience award at SXSW is super encouraging for Back to Back’s filmmaking future. We are delighted that the viewing public of Austin, Texas has reached out and given us their enthusiastic endorsement. We look forward to bringing more quality screen projects from Geelong to the world.”

Actor and co-writer Price said: “We are thrilled, excited and stoked to win this audience award at SXSW.”

The Visions strand of the festival aims to support “audacious, risk-taking artists” and innovation in filmmaking.

Shadow was one of seven Australian projects in SXSW this year, with others including Gracie Otto’s Seriously Red, Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes’ Sissy, Lachlan McLeod’s Clean, Ryan Griffin’s Lustration VR, Danny Cohen’s Anonymous Club and VR documentary Gondwana.

View all SXSW audience award winners here.

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