When I first read an article declaring a new species of orangutan, I was amazed that in the 21st Century new species of great apes were still being identified. It just goes to show that there is so much out there in the natural world left to be discovered, a lot of which we will never come to know about.
But there are two sides to every coin, and as incredible as it is that these apes have been recognised as a new species, the article also pointed out that they could soon vanish due to a human development being built in their only home – The Batang Toru Forest in Indonesia.
The story behind Now Or Never does not simply revolve around the orangutans, but rather, all of the people of the Tapanuli region that rely so heavily on the Batang Toru Forest. Like all rainforests, Batang Toru is a key component in the prevention of climate change, but it is also valuable for its role in producing water, and countless lives in all shapes and forms depend on this one forest.
The Now Or Never journey began by contacting the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), who are the only organisation conducting research within the Batang Toru Forest. The people at SOCP were quite incredible in the support they showed me and the belief they had in me to allow me to visit Batang Toru and make Now Or Never a reality.
Shot over 6 weeks, and produced throughout 2018, this production would not have been possible without the approval and support of the NFTS and collaborative spirit of every member from the Now Or Never team. From the long hours and weekends that Mirjam, Adam, and Kevin spent working on the film, showing their never-ending commitment and enthusiasm throughout, as well as the weekend hours Tom Hurd spent on the motion graphics. It is safe to say there would not be a Now Or Never without this amazing team forming such a close relationship.
The dedication, belief, and generosity shown by the entire SOCP team in Sumatra is also what brought this film to life. Whilst on location, every request or question was never too much. They were always happy to help, and I left Sumatra in July having made friends for life.
However most of all, Now Or Never was realised through the tremendous support shown by Alex Chronopoulos and Stefano Fasce from the very first day of development, as well as the belief my family had in the project, and the endless devotion and help Arrum Harahap from SOCP showed during production and post-production.
Everyone’s tireless commitment created this film, and I will always be immensely grateful to each and every one of those people.
– Matt Senior, October 2018