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Once upon a turtle

Updated on: 13 September,2021 08:32 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Maithili Vhakravarthy | theguide@mid-day.com

A digital story-telling concept adapts the true story of a Galapagos giant tortoise, Diageo, to create an entertaining movie for kids

Once upon a turtle

A still from Once Upon a Tide


An engaging digital art and story-telling piece for children is currently available for viewing. The piece is called Once Upon a Tide and is suitable for six-year-olds and above, and is based on the true life story of the giant tortoise Diageo, from Galapagos Islands. It’s over a century old, and has bred almost 800 offspring in a breeding programme, thus re-birthing a whole species, otherwise threatened.


Using stop motion and other puppetry film techniques, the film uses stick puppets, hand waves and hand puppets among other kinds of tools to tell the story. The creators of Once Upon A Tide are a young Navi Mumbai-based company called Art Apart, illustrators and commercial artists by profession who have made their first foray into filmmaking with the piece. Raju Deshpande, founder, Art Apart, shares, “Puppet shows are beautiful. We were keen to adapt the news about Diageo in the pandemic’s first wave into an online movie. It was a depressing time, and we thought what better way to brighten up spirits than this venture. In our film, the tortoise is a turtle and he is called Bahadur. It is a take on Bahadur’s offspring, who in turn travel to Velas along the Konkan coast, to celebrate their father’s 100th birthday. The offspring are scattered all over the world in our case — France, West Bengal, the US, and they each carry their country’s national food for the celebration.”


Analina Sanyal
Analina Sanyal


About the themes explored, Deshpande explains, “We have tried to show diversity in the world, and have also explored a lot of scientific ideas for children. The film reveals how when there is day in one country, there is night in another. Viewers can also learn how siblings of varied origins communicate.”

The film has already been screened at the Hyderabad Children’s Theatre Festival 2020 and the Vancouver International Children’s Festival 2021. Analina Sanyal, programme manager, ThinkArts who produced the film, says, “When we were shortlisting applicants, we were drawn in by this story and its intent. We felt that Art Apart was in alignment with ThinkArts’s philosophy of perceiving young audiences as intelligent, creative human beings. The engaging visuals and their treatment using different materials and techniques were also interesting.”

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