Aardman and Born Free Foundation have launched a new film to highlight the plight of wild animals in captivity across the world through reflections on the global coronavirus lockdown. Creature Discomforts: Life in Lockdown plays on the much-loved Creature Comforts construct and uses real interviews of peoples’ experiences of temporary lockdown to tell the stories of wild animals forced to live under lock and key.
Created by Aardman and London creative agency ENGINE, the film draws a parallel between the struggles faced by humans during lockdown and the impoverished lives of wild animals in captivity. The 2D animation was conceived and created entirely under lockdown conditions, with all meetings, production and animation carried out remotely.
Directed by Academy Award and BAFTA nominated director Peter Peake, the film uses interviews from people across the U.K. that were recorded during the peak of lockdown. To ensure that the accounts were honest, participants were unaware of the true purpose of the project until after their interviews were finished. Characters were then designed to match the voices, and the backgrounds designed to reflect the harsh conditions in which captive wild animals are forced to live.
“It was a real pleasure to team up with Born Free and to be able to use a classic Aardman style in a topical context for such an important cause,” said Peake. “Although lockdown presented us with challenges in production terms it inspired some really poignant and touching insights from our interviewees. I was also bowled over by how my small but perfectly formed crew came together so cohesively despite working remotely. We’ll all remember lockdown for a long time to come and it was great to have a project like this to get me through it.”
“Many of us will have suffered the restrictions and inconvenience of lockdown in recent months. In many ways, this has given us just a brief insight into the frustrations and compromise that wild animals in captivity face for their entire lives,” added Dr. Chris Draper, Head of Animal Welfare and Captivity for Born Free. “This short film encourages us to rethink captivity, and reconsider zoos, dolphinaria, circuses and the exotic pet trade from the animals’ perspective.”
“Lockdown provided us with a unique opportunity to talk to people about animal captivity in a way that they could really empathise with,” said Steve Hawthorne, Creative Director at ENGINE. “Collaborating with the incredibly talented folk at Aardman and Jungle, we were able to create an ad that hopefully gets people thinking and does justice to the legacy of Creature Comforts while giving it a fresh, topical and heart-wrenching twist.”