Multi award-winning animation studio Aardman and environmental organization, Greenpeace have launched a powerful new animated film, highlighting the plight of the world’s oceans. Turtle Journey, directed by Aardman’s Gavin Strange, tells the heartbreaking story of a turtle family heading home through an ocean that is under increasing pressure from climate change, plastic pollution, oil drilling and over-fishing.
Aardman uses its skills in storytelling, humor and creativity to communicate Greenpeace’s urgent message with a mix of CGI and stop-frame animation. Physical puppets were created to portray the turtle family, while the underwater environments are detailed in CGI.
Gavin Strange director at Aardman said:
“I wanted to tell a personal yet universal story of family, loss and hope to best connect with audiences around the world. It was an absolute dream to work with such a talented crew of animators, artists and creators here at Aardman, manipulating clay and pixels to make such a nuanced and delicate piece of animation. Brought to life by a stellar cast of world-class voice talent, topped off by a simply sublime score from Arthur Jeffe’s Penguin Cafe, I am immensely proud of what we’ve all made together.”
Characters in the film are voiced by Academy Award-winning actors Olivia Colman and Dame Helen Mirren, along with Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey, Stranger Things’ David Harbour, Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter, and comedian Ahir Shah.
Will McCallum, Head of Oceans at Greenpeace UK, said:
“We felt that Aardman’s global popularity and distinctive blend of humor and emotion could help us to reach new audiences with a strong but simple message – our oceans are in crisis and we must act now to protect them.”
“Six out of seven sea turtle species are threatened with extinction. Governments have an opportunity to take bold action at the United Nations this year when they meet to agree on a new Global Ocean Treaty. A strong treaty would pave the way for a global network of fully protected ocean sanctuaries, placing 30% of the world’s oceans off-limits to exploitation by humans and giving marine species such as turtles a chance to recover and thrive.”
Olivia Colman, voicing the turtle family’s mother, said:
“I’m thrilled to have worked on this heartbreaking film with Greenpeace and Aardman – it’s so important. Our oceans face so many threats, some I wasn’t even aware of before this, and sadly the story of this turtle family trying to get home in a damaged and changing ocean is a reality for so many marine creatures that are having their habitats destroyed by human activities. I hope this film inspires more people to take action to protect our oceans.”
Dame Helen Mirren, voicing of the turtle family’s grandmother, said:
“During my lifetime, I’ve seen nature being destroyed on an unimaginable scale by human activity. I’m saddened that our generation will leave to future generations a damaged planet, which has already lost so much of the biodiversity that makes it special. However, we have a chance to do something now and leave a legacy of properly protected oceans to all the people who come after us. “We can’t bring back what we’ve already lost, but we can protect what we still have. I hope this film will help to make more people realize the ocean is worth protecting, and inspires us to act before it’s too late.”
Jim Carter of Downton Abbey and the turtle family’s grandfather said:
“This heartbreaking story of a turtle family trying to get home through an ocean in crisis should resonate with anyone watching it. We all live in a world that has been changed enormously by human activity, and this reality is as true for marine animals like the turtles in Turtle Journey as it is for us humans on land.”
Aardman, based in Bristol (UK) and co-founded in 1976 by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, is an independent and multi-award-winning studio. It produces feature films, series, advertising, games and interactive entertainment – such as the ‘visually astonishing’ (The Guardian), BAFTA nominated console game, 11-11: Memories Retold, and the four-times Gold Cannes Lions-winning StorySign app – and innovative attractions for both the domestic and international market, including a new 4D theatre attraction at Efteling in the Netherlands. Its productions are global in appeal, novel, entertaining, brilliantly characterized and full of charm reflecting the unique talent, energy and personal commitment of the Aardman team. The studio’s work – which includes the creation of much-loved characters including Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Morph – is often imitated, and yet the company continues to lead the field producing a rare brand of visually stunning content for cinema, broadcasters, digital platforms and live experiences around the world. In November 2018 it became an Employee Owned Organization to ensure Aardman remains independent and to secure the creative legacy and culture of the company for many decades to come. .