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Bird Drone

3:00 PM

April 21, 2024


Radheya Jang Jegatheva




A heartfelt story of unrequited love explored through a lonely seagull struggling to accept that his newfound object of affection is a human-operated drone with a limited battery life.


Radheya Jegatheva is an Oscar-qualified and AACTA-nominated filmmaker from Perth, Western Australia. Born in Malaysia at the turn of the century, Radheya’s animations, live action narratives and documentaries have been selected to 32 Academy Award Qualifying Festivals. He has spoken to thousands of school students over the years with an aim to encourage young people about being involved in the arts, and his works have been used as an educational tool in schools and universities around the world.

His short film ‘The Quiet’ was Oscar-qualified, landing on the longlist for the Academy Award for Best Short Animation in 2021. His live-action short ‘Pacing the Pool’ won Best Short Documentary at the BFI Future Film Festival 2023, and was shortlisted by the World Health Organisation for the Special Prize for Rehabilitation. His films have won more than 640 awards across 65 countries.

Radheya is passionate about film, and the value of using film and animation in educational and social development contexts. He has also animated and contributed to various large-scale multimedia installations and public projects, and performed animation and VFX work on Lynette Wallworth's ‘How to Live...’ which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.



Bird Drone centres around love, in both the story itself and the creation of the film. A labour of love over the last few years, it is a heartfelt story about the human emotions connected with unrequited love, explored through two peculiar and unusual entities - a lonely seagull and a human-operated drone. Our hero seagull’s attraction is one-sided, and the dichotomy of the natural and the unnatural, the autonomous and the controlled, results in love that is completely unobtainable. It was extremely important to me that this was reflected in the art direction and visual style, using a combination of 2D and 3D animation techniques to mirror the relationship between the organic seagull and the synthetic drone.

Naturally, a wordless story between a bird and a drone lends itself to animation. I have a passion for animation, and I consider the film to be a love letter to the works of Studio Ghibli and Pixar, whose movies I grew up with and helped shape my love of cinema. In 2018, I won an opportunity to visit Pixar animation studios and was fortunate enough to meet the producer of Academy-Award winning animated short Piper, Marc Sondheimer, where they specially screened his film for me in an in-house theatre. It captivated me the whole way through, and reinforced in me one of many reasons why I adore animation - being able to communicate human feelings and emotions creatively through non-human characters, something that is much harder to recreate in live-action. The attention to detail and level of craftsmanship involved in Piper was really inspiring, and continued to be as this project came into being, especially as another animated film about birds by the beach! Aesthetically, there are also several nods to Miyazaki’s works and visual style throughout. In the end, Bird Drone took me almost three years to complete.

The film captures the feeling of pursuing someone who can never want you back, but being so blinded by love that you can’t help but continue to desire - even at your own detriment. However it’s also about the bittersweetness of moving on - as one should not dwell on unrequited love - and showing that something that ultimately does not work out can lead to bigger and better things. But I love how it is more than that too, and I feel that it may grow increasingly relevant with time - exploring sub-themes of the impact of technology and humanity on nature. I also see it as a metaphor for authentic human interaction in regards to the growing consumption and availability of artificial intelligence.

I fell in love with the idea when Clare and Hannah initially approached me about the film years ago, and I feel very grateful that they entrusted me with directing and animating the film. It was so rewarding to work with them and to build our friendship, and I’m very proud of what we’ve created over our journey for the last few years.












Radheya Jang Jegatheva

Executive Producer:


Hannah Ngo


Clare Toonen




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