Survivors: Rediscovering the Short-Tailed Rain Crayfish
Dir. Niall Doran
Sandy Bay, Tasmania, Australia
“Dedication, courage and endurance…” True/False Film Fest In late 2020, while Covid-19 had shut down most of the globe, a small research team entered the rugged wilderness of the remote island of Tasmania to search for a Critically Endangered species now believed to be Extinct. This wasn’t the long-lost Tasmanian Tiger, but an IUCN Red-Listed burrowing crayfish filling an important ecological role. Through heavy rain, cold and mud, cameras captured the very moment of rediscovery of these enigmatic animals, while also showcasing the dedication of the environmental scientists undertaking their gritty, hard work without fanfare or sensationalism. SURVIVORS was the only Australian selection as part of the UN's 2022 International World Wildlife Day Showcase in partnership with Jackson Wild, the United Nations Development Program and CITES. These specially selected films highlighted the restoration of key species supporting the pillars of humanity’s social and economic well-being, as well as key elements of the planet’s environmental health and biological diversity. Sometimes Big Impact comes from the smallest stories and species. While a crayfish species is not necessarily among the bigger and more charismatic animals, they are workhorses of biodiversity and ecosystem function. Celebrating the survival of these animals sends a powerful global message about the importance of even the tiniest ecological cogs that keep our world turning. At a time when the world needs good news, these small but determined survivors deliver a big dose of real-life environmental hope from down under 'Down Under'.
Dr. Niall Doran is a zoologist and film-maker, and was one of the endangered species experts sent into the wilderness to try to find this long lost animal. Niall founded the Bookend education program with international best-selling author Bryce Courtenay in 2008. He directed the award-winning short film '16 Legs: Spider Love' in 2014, and co-directed and produced its award-winning feature length cinema version 'SIXTEEN LEGS' in 2016-2017, featuring Neil Gaiman, Stephen Fry, Kate Miller-Heidke and Tara Moss. He was the 2012 Australian Geographic Conservationist of the Year, the 2012 inaugural awardee of the Breath of Fresh Air (BOFA) Film Festival Award for Innovation in Filmmaking, a 2016 Screen Producers Australia ‘Ones to Watch’ Awardee, and a 2017 Churchill Fellow – which led to him working with the BBC on the production of Doctor Who.