Now we know that Hollywood South New Orleans has finally come of age with a locally shot and produced Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Of course, we have lots of films being shot and produced here. What’s different this time is the director Benh Zeitlin lives in New Orleans. Although from New York he moved here after Hurricane Katrina and has chosen to make New Orleans his home.
The independent film has gotten rave reviews and has been hailed as a masterpiece.
Hailing From HollyWood South New Orleans - Beasts of the Southern Wild
The film, which clinched top honors at both the Sundance and Cannes film festivals, is 29-year-old director Benh Zeitlin’s first feature. The New York native moved to New Orleans in 2006.
“There was a lot of rhetoric in the country at that time of ‘Why rebuild? New Orleans should go away. It’s irresponsible to live there,’” he said. “And I thought it was such a ridiculous conversation being there and knowing these people and how much their home and culture meant to them. The idea that it could be transplanted is just crazy. And I definitely wanted to make a film that celebrated the people that hold on and that are fighting to keep this place alive.”
Zeitlin and his crew hired locals to help shoot the movie, and most of the actors were new to film as well.
Quevenzhané Wallis was only six when she played the role of Hushpuppy.
“You put the camera on her and you just see gears turning behind her eyes. And you see this focus and morality,” Zeitlin said. “We realized very quickly that we had to work with her like an adult.”
Years ago I felt that New Orleans was ripe for its entry into full-on production filmmaking. Being the birthplace of Jazz, New Orleans cuisine and other artistic endeavors with the advent of excellent films like Beasts of the Southern Wild Hollywood South New Orleans is now officially a force to be reckoned with within the filmmaking community.
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