Turtle: The Incredible Journey

The 25-year journey of the loggerhead turtle is one of the most fascinating and extraordinary migration stories in the animal kingdom.
Director:
Year: 2009
Country: UK
Running time: 80 mins

UK/Austria/Germany
Producers: Sarah Cunliffe, Mike Downey, Sam Taylor
Screenplay: Melanie Finn
Photography: Rory McGuinness
Editors: Richard Wilkinson, Sean Barton
Music: Henning Lohner
Narrator: Miranda Richardson

Festivals: Toronto, London 2009

From the moment she emerges from an egg on a Florida beach, a baby loggerhead turtle knows where she’s going. Twenty-five years, and many storms, skirmishes and 10,000 kilometres later, she’s seen the Atlantic and she’s back to lay her eggs on the very same beach. This spectacular natural history film, shot over two years, captures the grand trajectory of the turtle’s epic journey to maturity and will leave even the most grown-up of audiences reeling with the wonder of it. Miranda Richardson narrates, dishing up astounding facts to complement the astounding underwater imagery. Adults accompanied by children should be prepared to hear them told that laying eggs is the purpose of a female turtle’s life, though the children we’ve met were much more caught up with the fact that a baby turtle knows exactly what’s expected of her without ever meeting her mum and dad. — BG

“Finding turtles can be hard enough but catching them actually doing something is a test of will. You can spend days bobbing up and down on the ocean, diving on reefs looking for signs of activity, waiting for the weather to settle and still see nothing, but then the ocean always throws up surprises… Some of the most challenging filming involved the hatchling turtles. No longer than your little finger, they spend their early days hiding in sargassum weed that floats on the surface of the ocean. To try and reconstruct the ocean surface, the light and movement was a particular challenge. It involved an elaborate set-up of wave machines, ripple tanks and extreme patience! All our star turtles have since been released back into the wild.” — Nick Stringer

“Visually resplendent… a stately supporting cast of whales, sharks, jellyfish and luminescent microbes offer abundant distractions.” — Justin Chang, Variety