Today sees the worldwide release of The Lonely Dodo, a four-minute Aardman short created for international conservation charity, Durrell, to highlight the worldwide plight of endangered species.
Headquartered in Jersey, Channel Islands, Durrell is committed to conserving the diversity and integrity of life on earth. Since its formation over fifty years ago by author and naturalist Gerald Durrell, Durrell has developed a worldwide reputation for its pioneering conservation techniques.
To raise awareness of its vital work Durrell secured input from long-term supporters and friends of the charity Stephen Fry and Alistair McGowan, who share the organisation’s passion for its vision of saving species from extinction.
Durrell collaborated with Academy award-winning animation studio Aardman and brand agency TheFrameworks to produce an endearing film around an incredibly powerful concept. It uses the dodo’s extinction, imagined from the perspective of the very last dodo on earth, to communicate the plight of other species around the world that are now in danger of extinction.
We watch The Lonely Dodo travel across the globe in search of another of his kind, and cannot help but be moved by the flightless bird’s fruitless quest to find a mate. Fry’s dry narration is superb, conveying the serious message in an amusing and memorable fashion.
The short film was specifically scripted and produced to engage with potential supporters on an emotional level; telling the story of the lonesome dodo, who has been entertainingly brought to life by McGowan, as he realises he is in fact the very last of his kind.
When developing the concept for the film, TheFrameworks aimed to strike at the heart of what Durrell stands for. Most humans struggle to comprehend what extinction really means; by drawing a parallel between loneliness and extinction the team added emotional punch to the story.
David Alexander, senior designer at TheFrameworks explained: “We were moved by footage of the Last Tasmanian Tiger, lonely and resigned to extinction. Pairing this idea with the dodo, which is central to Durrell’s brand and a symbol of extinction, led us to the concept of The Lonely Dodo.”
Staff at Durrell have dedicated themselves to bringing The Lonely Dodo story to life for over twelve months; it is anticipated to be the most successful fundraising campaign in the charity’s history. The team hopes that 250,000 people will view the short over the next year, and that they will be inspired to support Durrell by signing up to a committed giving programme.
Commenting on his involvement, actor and comedian Stephen Fry said: “We know that currently there are more species either in the process of becoming extinct or in grave danger of doing so, than ever before in the history of man. Stemming this otherwise inevitable flow towards the loss of nature and all that it provides requires engaging the next generation, I wholeheartedly support the work of Durrell as they aim to inspire young hearts and minds to empathise with, and thus care, for the plight of endangered species.”
Along with the dodo, the film also features a range of other Critically Endangered species with which Durrell works including the Hispaniolan Solenodon, Pied Tamarin, Mountain Chicken Frog, Ploughshare Tortoise, Floreana Mockingbird and Pink Pigeon.
Discussing the project Aardman director Matthew Walker said: “It was a truly wonderful experience working with Durrell to create The Lonely Dodo. They gave us the freedom to produce what we hope is a funny and informative film, which is significantly enhanced by the exceptional vocal talents of Stephen Fry and Alistair McGowan. We really hope that it reaches the global audience it deserves!”
Alistair McGowan added: “It’s not often one is asked to become a dodo, especially given that we already know how that story ends! Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust exists to make sure that it doesn’t go the same way for other endangered species, so I became their dodo to help spread that message! Glad to say that I’m still here, and it was actually rather fun, despite the seriousness of the subject!”
Thrilled with the final result Durrell’s CEO Hugh Roberts said: “Gerald Durrell’s books were the gateway to discovery of the natural world for many. He was enormously aware of the effect mankind was having on other species with which we share this planet. He realised that without intervention the loss of species would continue with a devastating effect to life on earth. Gerald sadly died in 1995, but his message continues to be extremely topical and important.
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is an international charity working globally to save species from extinction. Headquartered in Jersey, in the Channel Islands, Durrell focuses on the most threatened species in the most threatened places.
Durrell’s philosophy emphasises the need for our three core conservation pillars to work together: a wildlife park in Jersey as a centre of animal husbandry and knowledge, disciplined management of conservation programmes in the field and a Conservation Academy to build conservation capacity. Durrell’s belief is that lasting and effective wildlife conservation can be achieved where these three components are in harmony.
Durrell makes a difference
Our pioneering and dedicated approach has saved some of the world’s most threatened species, many of which are now on the road to recovery.
Durrell is dedicated
Conservation only achieves results through dedicated leadership and with a track record of over 50 years we lead some of the world’s longest-running and successful endangered species recovery programmes.
Durrell is pioneering
Through our approach of long-term field projects, training conservation leaders, empowering local communities and specialised captive husbandry and breeding; we save some of the most threatened species in the most threatened places on earth.
Durrell’s work is vital
With the natural world facing unprecedented pressures which threaten wildlife and people, Durrell’s conservation work is more vital than ever before.
Aardman, based in Bristol (UK) co-founded and run by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, is a world leader in animation. It produces feature films, television series, television commercials and digital entertainment for both the domestic and international market. Their multi-award winning productions are novel, entertaining, brilliantly characterised and full of charm that reflects the unique talent, energy and personal commitment of the very special people who make up the Aardman team. The studio’s work is often imitated and yet the company continues to lead the field producing a rare brand of visually stunning and amusing independent and commercials productions.
Stephen John Fry born 24 August 1957, is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director and board member of Norwich City Football Club.
After a troubled childhood and adolescence, during which he was expelled from two schools and spent three months in prison for credit card fraud, he secured a place at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he studied English Literature. While at university, Fry became involved with the Cambridge Footlights, where he met his long-time collaborator Hugh Laurie. He co-wrote and co-starred in A Bit of Fry & Laurie, and took the role of Jeeves, in Jeeves and Wooster.
Fry’s acting roles include the lead in the film Wilde, Melchett in the BBC television series Blackadder, others such as Kingdom, Bones, V for Vendetta. He has also written and presented several documentary series, including the Emmy Award-winning Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, which saw him explore his mental illness. He is also the long-time host of the BBC television quiz show QI.
As well as his work in television, Fry has contributed columns and articles for newspapers and magazines, and has written four novels and two volumes of autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot and The Fry Chronicles. Fry is also known for his voice-overs, reading all seven of the Harry Potter novels for the UK audiobook recordings, and as the narrator in the LittleBigPlanet series of video games.
Alistair McGowan born 24 November 1964, is an impressionist, stand-up comic, actor, director and writer best known to British audiences for The Big Impression (formerly Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression) which was, for four years, one of BBC1’s top-rating comedy programmes – winning numerous awards, including a BAFTA and for the much-admired, recent ITV1 sports-comedy ‘You Cannot Be Serious’ (‘An excellent one-man show!’ Clive James, Daily Telegraph)
He has also worked extensively in theatre and appeared in the West End in Art, Cabaret, The Mikado, Pygmalion and Little Shop of Horrors (for which he received an Olivier nomination.)
As an actor on television he played the lead role in BBC1’s ‘Mayo’ and, on film, played Nico in ‘Driving Aphrodite’ alongside Nia Vardalos. He wrote the play ‘Timing’ (nominated as ‘Best New Comedy’ at the whatsonstage.com awards) and the book ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ or ‘How To Wean Your Man of Football’ with former comedy partner Ronni Ancona. He also provided voices for the iconic ‘Spitting Image’
TheFrameworks is a creative collaboration company based in London and Detroit, USA – working with clients all over the world. The team prides itself on great ideas and astute business understanding. Its portfolio covers strategic branding and messaging; copywriting and editing; design and artwork; web design and digital development; and campaign planning and deployment.
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