A small independent film no more...Beasts Of The Southern Wild is showing how fierce it is.
"It's all so much bigger than we ever could've thought, Director, Benh Zeitlin said.
The Louisiana-shot film captured the prestigious Camera d'Or for best first feature at Cannes. Beasts took home the grand jury prize in the U.S. dramatic competition at the Sundance Independent Film Festival as well as a cinematography award. It recieved an Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Zeitlin developed the scrip with playwright Lucy Alibar. It was inspired by her play, "Juicy and Delicious".
The film's about a mother-less, 6-year old girl named Hushpuppy. Hushpuppy is faced with her father Wink's fading health, amongst mythical prehistoric creatures and treacherous weather and environmental changes. Hushpuppy lives with her father in a fictional Louisiana community known as "The Bathtub".
The flick is resonating with movie-goers and critics all around the world. 8-year old, Quvenzhane Wallis from Houma, LA and Dwight Henry from New Orleans star in the movie. Henry is a baker who owns "The Buttermilk Drop Bakery and Cafe" in The Big Easy. Both are newcomers to films.
Henry said, "Acting was never something I thought I'd get into. People saw some natural ability that I didn't see in myself."
29-year old Director, Zeitlin said the film's honesty is what makes it heartbreaking yet hopeful.
"Hopefully you end up with a mix of fable and fantasy, but also something that's very true and real."
Beasts Of The Southern Wild was shot in bayou communities in Terrebone Parish. Zeitlin said Louisiana made the perfect backdrop for the film despite some challenges.
"You get deep in the swamps at 15 miles below the coast on a boat made out of a truck with animals and kids. It's like riding a bull just holding on, and not trying to get kicked off."
Beasts Of The Southern Wild premiered at the Joy Theater, bringing glamour and glitz to Downtown New Orleans on Monday night.
The film opens in limited release in New York and Los Angeles later this week, and in New Orleans and other cities on July 4th.