Heartbreaking Aardman film for Greenpeace calls for action to save the sea turtles

Titled Turtle Journey, the claymation campaign directed by Gavin Strange centres on a family of sea turtles who experience catastrophic loss as their ocean home is destroyed.

16 January 2020
Reading Time
2 minutes


Greenpeace’s latest campaign, Turtle Journey, begins with the heartwarming familiarity of any Aardman claymation, and it’s this contrast that makes the horrific ending all the more tragic. Directed by Gavin Strange, the short film combines stop motion clay characters and CG scenes, and centres on a family of sea turtles, sporting the happy-go-lucky grins of a Wallace and Gromit or Creature Comforts character. Making their way home through the ocean, they are met with the catastrophic results of climate change, plastic pollution, oil drilling and overfishing, making for a heartbreaking impact on their family – and in turn delivering a powerful call to action to protect their habitat.

The family is voiced by an all-star cast including Olivia Colman, David Harbour, Bella Ramsey, Jim Carter, Helen Mirren and Ahir Shah, and scored by Arthur Jeffe’s Penguin Cafe. Colman commented on the campaign: “Home is the most important thing we have. A safe space for us and our family to live. But we’re taking that away from turtles, whales, penguins and so many other incredible animals... 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.”

The director Gavin Strange says he wanted to “tell a personal yet universal story of family, loss and hope” in order to connect with audiences around the world. Working with the team at Aardman, he describes the final film as a “nuanced and delicate piece of animation”.

To coincide with the film’s release, Greenpeace is publishing a new report on the threats facing sea turtles, Turtles Under Threat, which the organisation claims “shows that the heartbreaking story of the turtle family in Turtle Journey is shockingly close to reality”.

Louisa Casson, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, adds that six out of seven sea turtle species are threatened with extinction, and that governments have an opportunity to take action at the United Nations this year when they meet to agree on a new Global Ocean Treaty. “A strong treaty,” she says, “would pave the way for a global network of fully protected ocean sanctuaries, placing 30 per cent of the world’s oceans off-limits to exploitation by humans and giving marine species such as turtles a chance to recover and thrive.”

In 2018, creative agency Lovers designed the End Ocean Plastics campaign for Greenpeace, which included a typeface “distressed to look like it would on a partially eroded and crumpled plastic bottle dumped in the sea”.

GalleryAardman for Greenpeace: Turtle Journey

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Aardman for Greenpeace: Turtle Journey

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent over a decade working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on jb@itsnicethat.com.

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