How We Got Fire is a short animated film currently in development. It is based on the folklore of the Andamanese people, as it was recorded in the book The Andaman Islanders (1922) by Alfred Radcliffe Brown.
Until recently, there has been no document about the current situation of the oral traditions. Based on the research by Anvita Abbi, it appears that the stories are almost entirely forgotten by the last remaining Andamanese.
It has not been possible to collaborate with any Andamanese people so far, as the Indian Government forbids any interaction or research. However, we are still hoping to complete the animated film and to record voices and sounds in the Andaman Islands for the film.
According to what was recorded a hundred years ago, the ancestors were believed to be the animals. Sir Monitor Lizard was the first ancestor, and he was married to Lady Civet cat. When the great flood came and wiped out the entire world, they were able to save the fire, as it was carried by them to the top of the highest hill which is known as Bain I’it-capa (Bain’s fire).
Biliku was the deity of the wild storms that ravaged the land. She would create the storms whenever she got angry, and she would get angry when humankind stole her food – the yams and the honey, or when they threatened her child, the cicada.
The animation was filmed during the pandemic lockdown 2020. It is a combinaation of stop-motion and computer generated techniques.
The folklore of the Andamanese, and the story of How We Got Fire, is about the elements of nature: the earth and the mud which is used to paint the body; the flood; the storm winds, the fire and the space where the story takes place, at the beginning of time. Life was the interactions between the various realms, the sky (above the forest), the earth and the sea, and the creatures that dwell in each place.