Aardman and Greenpeace have launched a powerful new animated film to highlight the plight of the world's oceans.
Directed by Aardman's Gavin Strange, Turtle Journey 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 overfishing.
To communicate Greenpeace's urgent message, Aardman used a mix of CGI and stop-frame animation, along with its usual gift for storytelling, humour and creativity. Physical puppets were created to portray the turtle family, while the underwater environments were detailed in CGI.
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.
Director and Designer at Aardman Gavin Strange 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 and with Greenpeace’s hard-hitting call to action, I am immensely proud of what we've all made together."
Will McCallum, Head of Oceans at Greenpeace UK, said: "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."
Turtle Journey ends with a call to action, urging us to sign Greenpeace's petition calling for a Global Ocean Treaty.
Olivia Colman, voicing the turtle family's mother, said: "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, the voice of the turtle family's grandmother, added: "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 realise the ocean is worth protecting, and inspires us to act before it’s too late."