South African animation breaks into most watched Netflix top 10 films

Johannesburg- Triggerfish’s third animated feature, Seal Team, is making a splash on Netflix’s global Top 10 films for the week ending 9 January 2022, with members watching over 10 million hours, making it the ninth most-watched film on Netflix in 27 countries.

Seal Team, which launched on New Year’s Eve, is the story of Quinn, a seal who spends his days relaxing in the sun, splashing in the beautiful waters off the coast of Cape Town, and swimming for his life from Great White Sharks.

When he decides it’s time for the food chain to bite back, Quinn recruits a ragtag team of like-minded seals brave, stupid, and crazy enough to try and teach those sharks a lesson.

Grammy Award winner Seal plays a singing seal called Seal Seal and action legend Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables) portrays a dolphin called Dolph.

The two castings which tell you everything you need to know about both the film’s humour and how swimmingly everything fell into place for the production

Seal Team is the feature film debut of South African writer-director Greig Cameron, working from a story by Wayne Thornley (Adventures in Zambezia) and Brian and Jason Cleveland.

“Believe it or not, our underwater military animal team is based on a real unit that trains seals and dolphins to disarm mines,” says Greig. “Admittedly, the real-life version probably isn’t armed with exploding sardines and octo-suits made out of octopi that can change colour.”

Of course, seals are the unlikeliest of action heroes, especially when on land. “They’re these weird, flubby, amorphous slabs of butter on land,” said Greig.

“We went on a research trip diving with them. As we left the harbour in the boat, I was looking at these derpy seals just lying there on the jetty, and I was wondering, how are we going to make an action movie with these guys?”

“But then as soon as we got in the water, I was like, yes, this is going to work amazingly. When they get in the water, it’s not just that they’re faster, their whole bodies re-form into these darting bullets. They’re pretty much the physical manifestation of ‘squash-and-stretch’ animation.”

Greig leaned into the ridiculousness of the seals vs. sharks premise. “Cape fur seals forming a military SEAL team to fight sharks is something so silly and ridiculous, it makes me grin, it makes everyone grin,” said Grieg.

But co-director Kane Croudace said for all it’s silliness, behind the madcap gags and rapid-fire punchlines, Seal Team is also an inspiring underdog story that everyone at Triggerfish related to.

“It’s about a hero who is brave, stupid and crazy enough to want to do the dangerously impossible,” said Kane.

“That’s a theme that resonates throughout my working career. Right at the beginning of my time with Triggerfish, we wanted to make a feature film at the bottom of Africa with a totally inexperienced crew, which everyone said was impossible. We went and did it anyway.

“If anyone working at a ’proper’ studio had seen our workflows on Adventures In Zambezia, they would have given us 150/1 odds against us ever finishing it. But shielded by our stupidity and bravado, we managed to do it and we’ve got better with each subsequent project.”

“So I think Quinn’s attitude to the task ahead is mirrored in our tenacity in getting these films made, “he concluded.

Watch the trailer below:

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