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Local animation film, Seal Team, in Netflix's Top 10 list in 27 countries globally

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.
Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

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.

The all-star cast features Jessie T. Usher (A-Train in The Boys) who stars as Quinn, opposite the likes of Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (Omni-Man in Invincible), Emmy winner Matthew Rhys (Philip in The Americans), Emmy nominee Kristen Schaal (Mabel in Gravity Falls and The Guide in What We Do In The Shadows), four-time Annie Awards nominee Patrick Warburton (Joe Swanson in Family Guy) as well as South African stars Sharlto Copley (Wikus van der Merwe in District 9) and John Kani (Rafiki in The Lion King).

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

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

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

“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, ‘Goodness gracious, 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,” Cameron added.

Cameron 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,” he said.

But co-director Kane Croudace says for all its 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,” Croudace said. “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.”

Other Triggerfish productions

Triggerfish’s first two films, Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, sold nine million cinema tickets globally, placing them in the five biggest Box Office hits from Africa ever.

Triggerfish then went on to animate the Oscar-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation, Revolting Rhymes, and four much-loved Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler adaptations, including the 2021 Annie Award winner, The Snail and the Whale and the 2020 International Emmy-winning Zog, all produced by Magic Light Pictures.

Triggerfish is currently producing three Africa-focused TV series: Mama K’s Team 4 for Netflix, Kiya for eOne, Disney Junior and Disney+, and the anthology Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire for Disney+.

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