Country of Origin
On a hot summer day, a young boy lounges in a tyre swing hanging from the big branch of an old ghost gum. He peers through binoculars to catch glimpses of a baby koala and its parents living at the top of the gum’s mighty trunk. The surrounding bush vibrates with native animal life. In the distance, plumes of grey smoke rise above the coastal landscape, showering the horizon with ash.
As the boy helps his parents prepare their home for an evacuation, so too do the animals prepare their homes: a wombat clears his burrow of debris, a finch tidies her nest; flocks of birds begin their migrations to safer skies. The boy and his kelpie sit on the porch, watching on with trepidation.
The sun grows a burnt orange; a dusty hue befalls the landscape. A tiny ember drifts in the wind like an orange snowflake. The baby koala sticks its head out from the gumtree for a closer look. He winces and scratches at his nose, burnt by the ember’s seductive glow. Then the wind changes.
The sky turns an ominous black, then a blazing red as the fires race towards the coastal bushland community. A mob of kangaroos bound over fallen branches. The boy’s parents load their car with memories and keepsakes. The boy and his kelpie jump in but the kelpie whines and barks at the commotion outside. Through the smoke, the boy can see the family of koalas trapped between fallen branches. He rushes to their aid. Behind him, his parents approach with boxes.
“A line of cars follow the only road out of town. The boy watches through a rear window as the glowing town becomes distant. He turns forward and takes his seat. His kelpie lays on the floor at his feet. Something shifts inside a box beside him.”
The boy and his parents have brought the koala family in the car with them. Guided by rural firemen, the two families journey to safety. Though they share the same experience of loss, it is their bushland home that unites them.
And home is where they will return, when the bushfires are over.
Director Biography – Jonathan Chong
Jonathan Chong (aka Dropbear) is an award-winning Director and Animator from Melbourne, Australia. He is a film director with a background in music videos that specialises in visual narrative films and stunning stop-motion creations. Dropbear relishes the opportunity to create visual stories that stand out and as one reviewer coined, “jaw dropping worlds of visual delicacies.” There is a level of technical and artistic skill behind his craft as this is something Dropbear champions in every frame he creates.
From a background in art and design, Dropbear’s motion works are unique, vibrant and entertaining. Dropbear is passionate about great ideas underpinned by innovative art direction and his attention to detail means he goes beyond expectations to deliver the best possible outcome on each and every project. His works stretches from films, music videos to commercials and has produced work for musicians such as John Butler Trio, Dan Sultan, Emma Louise, Husky, Opiuo, Hudson and Troop and Coheed & Cambria.
Jonathan’s work has been exhibited throughout Australia, Asia, Europe and North America including:
Centre Pompidou – Paris
Semi Permanent 2012 – Sydney
Creteil Maison Des Arts – Paris
Punto y Raya Festival – Barcelona
Great Wall of Oakland
St Kilda Film Festival
Melbourne International Animation Festival
Arts Brookfield: Art Set Free, New York