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SIWA AND ORA- Growing up with the Dragons.
Life on Komodo Island is a fairy tale of its own kind. Thanks to the power of a local legend the dragons were able to survive and live in symbiosis with people from the Village of Komodo. We follow the 15 year old Siwa in search of his sister – the 3m long, flesh eating Komodo Dragon.
What do you know about Komodo? Have you watched documentaries about the fierce, 3m-long, 70kg, man-eating Komodo Dragons? Did you know they’re cannibals, have two penises and the females can procreate without a male through Parthenogenesis? Have you heard they can hunt and kill a giant buffalo with a single bite?
The Komodo Dragons got their name from the Island they live on. The archipelago of Komodo is the only place in the world where the dragons have survived in their natural habitat. When I first arrived on Komodo Island I was in shock, as nobody had told me that this island is inhabited by a tribe of around 1400 people. They live in astonishing houses built on stilts and still speak between themselves the language of Komodo. Here, human beings and more than 3 thousand dragons live on one island as brothers. There’s a reason why the Komodo Dragons survived on this island, while hunted down and killed in all other parts of Indonesia.
Is the name of our dragon-eyed friend, the eldest son of Captain Pak Alias. Although he’s only 15 years old, he takes care of the household when his father’s working as a guide on a nearby island. He can repair literally anything, starting from an underwater propeller to a generator; he’s always bursting with energy and is constantly working on something. He`s the most resourceful boy we’ve ever met, he helps his mother a lot and takes care of the other 5 siblings. But his biggest and most obvious passion is the dragons, and whenever he has some free time he runs to the hills in search of them.Siwa can spot a dragon from many kilometers away, although for us it could just as well be a distant rock or tree branch. He can intuitively feel where the creature will be rummaging or searching for food. He has been raised in the company of dragons and very often we’d feel there’s some invisible bond between them. He can be naughty and set up traps to lure the dragons, although it is common for small dragons to come into the kitchen. Most of the villagers throw stones at the dragons to stop them from coming into the village, but not Siwa. His eyes change when he sees them; he chases them and plays with them. It’s as if he transforms from a hard working, quiet and shy boy into a vivid, happy personality – unconsciously he starts singing and his face is blooms with a wide smile. As he says – “Kalau tidak bisa lihat ora, orang bosan, tapi kalau bisa lihat satu saja, orang sudah senang” – People get bored when they don’t see a dragon, but if they see at least one, they`re happy.
Ora (the dragon)
There is a local legend we discovered while staying in the village on Komodo Island. The legend is about humans, dragons and their common ancestor. Thanks to it the dragons were saved from extinction, which they met in other parts of the world – hunted and killed by humans. “Ora” in the local language means scream and that’s how the locals named the dragon, because of the screams and cries heard when the dragon was forced to leave his family and the village where it had been born. We want to animate this legend.
Although Tessa has directed her previous animations in cooperation with producers and production studios raising funds, this film has been self-financed. We have the support of local brands and the official support of the Polish Embassy in Jakarta. We have also had a successful indiegogo campaign in April 2016.
If you wish to be part of our story and support the work on this project, please let us know.
Tessa Moult-Milewska – Scholar of Warsaw Film School, has a degree in film directing from FAMO, Czech Republic. Director of animated films with international recognition and awards. Born of dual-nationality, Polish and English. Scholar of the Indonesian Government Program ‘Darmasiswa’ in 2014/2015.
Adrian Crapciu – Photographer, traveler, blogger at Lost In East, Co-creator of Solo24 hour photo project, winner of Your Shot photography contest by National Geographic. Born in Romania, passionate about distant cultures and doing things differently. ‘Darmasiswa’ scholar in 2013/2014, but refused to leave Indonesia for another year; you can read about the reason here.
This project has an estimated duration of 20 min with the majority of it being a documentary and will have approximately 3 minutes animation at the beginning and 2 minutes at the end.
The status of the production
We have already left Indonesia and are back in Europe, editing the shots. We have the image, but it still requires a lot of work with post-production, e.g. color correction, sound design.
Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some shots’s from the animation/ wayang theatre inspired by the Indonesian Wayang Kulit. We used it to show the legend: