You also used some visual FX and shot some recreations in specially built marine studios. Why did you have to do that?

It’s essentially about 80 percent of the film was shot in the ocean and about 20 percent we had to film in the studio. We know we can find loggerhead turtles in certain places in the Atlantic Ocean, and we know we can find them in Florida and the Azores and the Caribbean but trying to track one across the North Atlantic is incredibly difficult to do. So in order to tell a story we needed to fill in the gaps in some places, and so we had to fall back on filming in a studio. But all the turtles we filmed were turtles that had either been rescued or rehabilitated and they’ve all since been released back into the wild and into the ocean. So yes, there were scenes that we had to shoot in a tank. But I think it was necessary to tell the story. I believe that it’s very important that we do get the story out, and I think it’s certifiable.


The sound in this documentary really lends itself to the emotion and the experiencefrom the score to the narration to the sounds of nature. Do you think that sound plays a big role in helping the audience connect with what they’re seeing?

Yes, I do. I think it’s really important. I think the sound is something that we worked very, very hard on and we recorded a lot of sounds in nature where we were and I think that it was used to great effect. But it’s something that does add a sense of being there, a sense of the atmosphere, and it’s absolutely critical. There’s one scene where the cargo ship is barreling down on the turtle and you can hear it approaching from a distance, and it’s just those subtleties and twists and turns and I think get you down on such a sort of micro level.


How does the addition of 3D further enhance the film?

I think it brings you one step closer, I would say. It’s one step closer to full immersion. I was deeply impressed when I saw it. It does help take you there. But you know equally important to me was the story, and that was something that I cared very much about and I really wanted that story to be right. And quite often you don’t get so much focus on story, but all the focus on spectacle. And I hope what we have here is a combination of the two.


Why do you think wildlife documentaries such as Turtle: The Incredible Journey that give up-close-and-personal glimpses into the natural world are gaining so much popularity, and even sometimes becoming family movie-going events?

I think the reason we’re seeing so much is probably because of March of the Penguins [2005]. It sort of kicked it all off. It’s the first time a wildlife film has caused so much of a stir. And I guess there just must be a demand for it. But at the end of the day, the natural world and its creatures look fantastic on the big screen. It’s a natural place for it. For me, it’s about getting the right story and telling the right stories so that people aren’t just coming to see beautiful images of the natural world, but there are important stories being told now. More than ever [audiences] need to hear those stories, so that we can actually protect our wildlife and for future generations.

Are you working on a next story right now or another wildlife documentary?

I’m just in the throes of finishing a film about great whites, I’m pleased to say. That is due to be released on Discovery Channel during “Shark Week” at the end of July. So we’ve just literally finished that.