Many of you asked me why lately I wasn’t active anymore. Well a lot of things happened, first of all I returned to Europe, yes after 2 years I am back. The reason? hmmm my passport expired. And after all this time, there are a lot of friends to meet and a lot of stories to be shared.
I am also working at the photobook, lots of up and downs, but the most important thing is that me and Tessa (www.tessamoultmilewska.com), the other half of Lost in East, started to work on a documentary film.
During these 2 years that we spent around Indonesia we came across a lot of stories, that worth to be shared, but from all of them Siwa and Ora is our favourite one.
For nearly a month we lived with a family under the same roof, and thanks to our ability to speak Indonesian we had become friends, even part of the family and we could listen to many of their amazing stories. The time we spent there was full of breathtaking moments: we saw dragons mating, hunting, fighting; we even had tea with one of them.
Life on Komodo Island is a fairytale 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. Here little boys play with dragons and have a childhood like nowhere else in the world. This will be a story about growing up and living with the dragons.
What do you know about Komodo? Have you watched documentaries about the fierce, 3m-long, 70kg, man-eating komodo dragons? Did you also know they’re cannibals, have two penises and the females can procreate without a male (Parthenogenesis)? Have you heard they can hunt and kill a giant buffalo with a single bite? Can you imagine the power of this creature when it leaps at his prey?
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.
Now we’ve finished shooting on Komodo Island, but we’re only half way to finishing the movie. We’re planing to combine it with a sand animation that will tell the story of the legendary siblings.
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 are also planning a crowd-funding campaign in October 2015.
If you wish to be part of our story and support the work on this project, please do so. How? – we will let you know soon.
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 – Acclaimed photographer, traveller, 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 30 min with the majority of it being a documentary and will have aproximately 4 minutes of sand 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. colour correction, sound design. We are also still looking for a workplace and equipment for the animation, we will need another few weeks to plan and shoot the animated legend. After we finish the movie we intend to submit it to festivals and in addtition promote and distribute it as much as possible.
Follow us on facebook at : facebook.com/SiwaandOra
Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org