First Image and Synopsis from Michael Dudok de Wit’s “The Red Turtle”

A synopsis and the first piece of artwork has emerged from The Red Turtle, the feature directorial debut of celebrated Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit (The Monk and the Fish and the Oscar-winning Father and Daughter). Co-written by French director and screenwriter Pascale Ferran, the dialogue-less film follows the major life stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds.

Dudok de Wit, who is using the charcoal drawing and watercolor wash techniques that he used on Father and Daughter, has said that the film “shows a deep respect for nature, including human nature, and conveys a sense of peace and awe at the immensity of life.” His name alone should be reason enough to get any animation fan excited, but if you’re not convinced yet that this will be a special film, you may be interested to know that Studio Ghibli has signed on as a co-producer, marking the first time that the famed Japanese studio has attached their name to a Western film project.

Animation production is being handled by French animation studio Prima Linea, which has produced animation on films like Fear(s) of the Dark, Loulou l’Incroyable Secret, and Zarafa. The other co-producers are Why Not Productions, Wild Bunch, and Arte. Red Turtle is expected to be completed by 2015. In the meantime, let’s revisit Dudok de Wit’s Father and Daughter:

(via Catsuka)


  • http://facebook.com/bawsyanimation Harrison Browning

    This may be the biggest tease of the year. Dudok de Wit + Studio Ghibli? 2015 couldn’t come any sooner.

  • Saturnome

    I want to see this film so badly. I’m glad a legend of short film get to make a prestigous feature length film.

  • Tomm

    I am so happy that there are so many amazing and artistic films being made right now, longway north , this and many more. I just hope audiences embrace them . Thats the biggest struggle these “art house” movies that we produce in europe face

    • AmidAmidi

      Agreed, it’s a really exciting time for the art form. It’s a shame that these films can’t break out in the U.S. where the media is saturated with coverage of a handful of major studio films. But even if mainstream audiences haven’t quite caught on with all the exciting things happening in animation, at least there’s a growing awareness within the animation and visual art community, which is an important first step.

      • Tomm

        My hope is that these “smaller” features can find an audience over the longer term on the various vod and online platforms that allow more specialised projects to find an audience .. Not sure exactly how its all going to shape up in terms of revenue but if we can keep making these films there will eventually be enough of them to make them seem less the exception and more a legitimate alternative to “mainstream” animation. Of course festivals and arthouse cinemas are massively important for these films too. Im glad there are more and more producers and distributors willing to get behind them.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          Well put. If they’re “out there,” they will find some sort of audience eventually. Someday, maybe they’ll have the audience they deserve.