Belgium, France


A man marooned on a desert island tries desperately to escape, until one day he encounters a strange turtle that will change his life.

Director's Statement

I had the idea of a man on a desert island, a theme that has since then become somewhat recurrent on television, but I liked this archetypal idea. I didn’t want to tell the story of how he survives, as this has been done so many times. I needed more than that. So I spent some time on one of the small Seychelles islands – a name which evokes luxury vacations. But I made a simpler choice, living with locals for ten days. I would go for walks alone, observing everything and taking thousands of photos. The idea was to avoid the ‘holiday brochure’ aesthetic. My castaway couldn’t love the location – he wants to return home at all costs, as the island is not so welcoming. There are dangers, extreme solitude, rain and insects …
Then I made a classic mistake: my script was too detailed. The film would have been too long. But the basis of the story was strong. The next step was the animatic, which is a very simplified version of the film, drawn with fixed, static images. I discovered that it was sometimes tricky to translate the story into a cinematographic language. There were kinks that I couldn’t smooth out. Pascal Caucheteux, my producer at Why Not Productions, suggested I meet Pascale Ferran. We saw each other regularly over the following months. We had in-depth discussions about the film as a whole, as we were unable to change isolated elements without affecting all the rest. She helped me to identify problems and to make the narrative clearer and more powerful. She also loved the idea that in animation films, the editing is so well thought out before the shots are made – she made some valuable contributions to this process.

Director's Biography

2006 THE AROMA OF TEA, short
1992 TOM SWEEP, short

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Michael Dudok de Wit

Written by: Michael Dudok de Wit

Produced by: Vincent Maraval

Editing: Céline Kélépikis

Original Score: Laurent Perez del Mar

Animation: Michael Dudok de Wit

Nominations and Awards

  • European Animated Feature Film 2016