Growing Back (2020)
7 minutes | English | Wombat Poo Productions | Directed by Thomas "Wombat" Goth-Towney
6 months on from "Black Summer", we take a dive into what's been happening in the fire effected areas of NSW's Blue Mountains.
This is the first Documentary from Wombat Poo Productions. It had a total pre, post, and production crew size of just 4 people, and filmed (safety) during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the 4 rarely every meeting face to face!
The perfect film at the perfect time.
Like many people this year, I’ve found myself locked in my apartment, trying to keep as far away from social interaction as possible. The constant news cycle of one horror after another in 2020 had almost made me forget that just last year, my country burnt in some of the most horrific fires the world had ever experienced.
Blissfully naive to the thought there there may be nothing but ash around, one weekend I decided to go out bush walking. It seemed the perfect getaway. Huge space, strong natural winds, very few people, and zero internet/reception! What I saw on that walk though, genuinely moved me. Almost every plant was black, burnt to ash. But growing out of these seemingly dead trunks, was the most densely packed greenery I’ve ever seen. It brought a completely different look to the mountains that I’d never seen before. The contrast wherever you looked was matched only by the resilience that life showed here. Looking around it struck me that this entire area had been burnt out by fires so intense, their smoke clouds made it across the globe, and yet despite that, the mountains looked absolutely vibrant.
After walking, I began researching, what happens after a fire? What happens when all of life is burnt, that could lead to such a quick turn around. It might have been the best news I read all year. It genuinely filled me with hope. If there’s one thing that really needs to be spread this year, it’s hope. And so I prepared my pitch. We don’t need a large crew, we don’t even need to meet face to face. Cameras record footage, sound mixed in post, voice over recorded in a home studio. It seemed like the perfect film to make at the perfect time.
Growing Back might on the surface be a short educational piece about the recovery of the Blue Mountains after “Black Summer”, but to me, it’s about spreading hope in these times. It’s proof that despite what might lie ahead of us, even if it feels like the world we know is burning around us; this will get better, and we can recover.