Seal Island is a 1948 American documentary film directed by James Algar. It won an Academy Award in 1949 for Best Short Subject (Two-Reel).


  • Winston Hibler as Narrator


In 1947, Walt Disney contracted Alfred and Elma Milotte to shoot documentary footage of the wildlife and culture of Alaska. Disney did not see the theatrical value in the footage of human activity in Alaska, but he was intrigued with footage that the Milottes shot of the seal population at the Pribilof Islands. Disney himself coined the title Seal Island for the film, and planned it as the first in a new series of nature documentaries called True-Life Adventures.

The Milottes shot over 100,000 feet of film and spent over a year filming the seals. The total production cost Disney a little over $100,000.


RKO Radio Pictures, the studio distributing Disney’s films at the time, initially refused to release the half-hour Seal Island. Disney booked the film for its Los Angeles and New York City theatrical engagements, and RKO agreed to release the film nationally only after it proved its commercial potential and received the Academy Award.


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