Michael Dudok de Wit Q&A: ‘The Red Turtle’ director
When asked during our recent webcam chat (watch above) about his Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, “The Red Turtle” director Michael Dudok de Wit divulges, “It would always be great, but this year there were many, many more films in competition than the years before, and very strong films. The chances that ‘The Red Turtle’ would be nominated were quite slim, I thought.” Produced by Studio Ghibli, this dialogue-free film follows the major life-stages of a castaway on a deserted tropical island, and what happens when he encounters a giant red tortoise.
The Dutch-born animator got the idea from his childhood, when he grew up watching the French TV series “The Adventures of Robinson Caruso.” “It stayed with me my whole life,” he reveals. Instead of thinking about, “how would I discover fire, or how would I find food,” the story instead made him ponder, “what is it to be alone? Really alone? Not for months or a year, but much longer. What is it to have no reflection at all from society?”
Dudok de Wit won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short for his film “Father and Daughter” (2000), and was nominated once before for “The Monk and the Fish” (1994). “The Red Turtle” marks his feature filmmaking debut. It competes at the Oscars against “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Moana,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” and “Zootopia.”