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Arunaya Gondhowiardjo


Firman Widyasmara


Is he ready to go back home?


Himba is an orangutan who was raised by humans. He was brought in as a baby to the orang-utan centre after surviving a fire that burned most of his body and killed his mother. Through the great care and his determination, he’s able to grow up into a cheerful and healthy orang-utan. Now that he’s about to be released, the question is, will he be able to call the forest home?


Story and visual development stage.

Director statement

Home is based on a true story of Himba, a baby orangutan that was taken in by BONEO ORANG UTAN SURVIVAL FOUNDATION at 2007. He was in a terrible condition, most of his body was burned and his fingers were broken and in need of a surgery. He was found by a wood collector in central Kalimantan after his mother succumbed to a wild dog attack. He fortunately recovered into a cheerful young orangutan, and at 2018 I was informed that he's a candidate for to be placed in a pre-released island where he will stay, while being monitored on his surviving skill, for 1-2 years before being placed back into the wild.

Himba’s story, while sounded fantastic is not entirely unique, because through the years, the destruction of habitats had rendered hundreds of orangutans into victims. And with their number dwindling down, they’re on the edge of extinction.

As you might or might not know, orangutan has been victims of various humans activities, wether it’s poaching, deforestation, or forest fire. And even more sadder is that most of the victims are orphan babies. If you rescue an adult orangutan, as soon as they healed, they can be easily released back to the wild. But not so for the babies. Because they learn everything from their mothers and unlike gorillas or chimps that live in groups, orangutans are solitary animals, so when you find an orphan they’re always found on their own. And without their mums to teach them to survive, they’re helpless.

The reason why I want to tell this story stemmed through a personal experience of watching a crying baby orangutan. His name was Budi. He was severely malnourished after being kept as illegal pet by a local villager.  His arms and legs are bloated and he was to weak to even sit up. When the vet touched him gently, he cried out because his body was in so much pain. 

It struck me on how similar they look like a human baby. And I have never seen a human baby so weak and in so much pain like that. It saddened me how this baby who looks so similar to ours are suffering such pain. That moment inspired me to tell the story to more people in a simple and easy way to get more people thinking about the underlying problems on why are they suffering.

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