Born This Way - Turtle: The Incredible Journey
- Friday, June 24, 2011
I’m assuming you had to film different turtles since you only had two years to make this documentary. And you couldn’t possibly follow around the same turtle for 20-plus years. So how did you show the loggerhead at different stages of life to represent one turtle's journey?
Absolutely. We couldn’t wait 20 years to wait to tell the story of one turtle following it around the Atlantic. That would be impossible. And we can’t wait 20 years to hear the turtle’s story because their way of life is in danger, and the story needs to be heard and seen now. So the way we did it was we took a leaf out of Hollywood’s book and used a number of different “actors” playing the same character, and we probably ended up filming about 10 or 15 turtles at different stages of the turtle’s life cycle. It’s still the same story for all of them. They all fundamentally do the same thing; they all go around the North Atlantic and follow the same path. So I think it’s quite legitimate, and hopefully we’ve ended up telling a very beautiful story.
A lot of Crosswalk readers are parents who are concerned with the education of their children, and the study of God's creation is a big part of that. As the director of Turtle: The Incredible Journey, what do you think children will be able to learn from this documentary?
The few children who I have met who’ve seen it have loved it. I’ve been really heartened by the fact that so many young children do like this film. I think what it is is it’s a real story of a sea turtle and it’s an adventure, but it’s also hugely revealing, I hope. It just shows a little of what it must be like to be a turtle in a huge, vast ocean. And it does give us perspective, I hope, on what’s actually happening in the oceans today. I’m sure children will come away with a lot when they view this film. The ones that I’ve met so far have, and it’s been a delight for me to see. It’s something I really, really wanted to do when I made this film at the outset was that I wanted it to appeal to children not just because it was entertaining, but also because I hope that there is something of an underlying message. And it’s the kids really who are our next generation; these are people that have to carry the torch of protecting the environment and they are the future generation. So that was very much at the front of my mind when I made this film.
The film portrays that there are both natural obstacles and man-made obstacles that get in the way of and threaten the turtle’s journey. Do you think that one set of obstacles is more to blame than the other for what has made the loggerhead “endangered”?
Yes. I mean all sea turtles have their different challenges. The loggerhead turtle is a turtle that goes on a voyage across the ocean into waters, and they start their journey in Florida across the North Atlantic across the ocean almost to Africa. So they’re going through a lot of territory and they’re exposed to a lot of the problems that mankind throws at them, and that is long-line fishing. We’re talking about plastics, and we’re also talking about habitat. So a lot of these are man-made problems and are problems for turtles. And they are probably entirely responsible for the fall in numbers that we have witnessed in the last 30 or 40 years. The sea turtles are in trouble, and they need our help. It’s important that we get the message out there that we do what we can to protect them. And I’m pleased to say that in the U.S. they’re very aware, and there have been a number of policies that have been introduced there that have helped to protect these turtles and protecting beaches, etc. It includes changing long-line fishing practices from the traditional “J hook” to a curved hook. It includes changing shrimp netting, etc. There’s so much that’s being done here in the U.S. You just want that to kind of filter out to other countries, so that we can protect [sea turtles] internationally.
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