Well, it finally it happens that a movie, Beasts of the Southern Wild, born and bred in south Louisiana from a director who actually calls New Orleans home is nominated for an Academy Award.
Beasts of the Southern Wild Gets Oscar Nod!
It was announced today that Beasts of the Southern Wild is up for best picture for 2012. Will it win? Probably not. But doesn’t matter. It was nominated. Not only that the little star Quvenzhane Wallis whose first name I can’t pronounce is up for best actor. Now that is a big deal too. For someone whose never acted before, let alone being in a movie, let alone being in a movie from Louisiana, let alone being in a movie that’s nominated for an Oscar, well, that’s a pretty big deal.
OK. Big deals all around. The reason I’m excited about all this is because many years ago I moved back to New Orleans after living in Los Angeles for a time, after getting my masters in film production at USC, with a script in hand with dreams of making a movie here, produced and financed here.
But really the city had no infrastructure at the time for making movies, nor the talent, let alone my talent for being able to draw it all together. It was something that was too daunting for me and eventually after feeling discouraged gave it up. New Orleans was just not ready. And maybe truth be told, I wasn’t really ready either. (I’m not as interested in making movies as I used to be. I’m content playing music, writing on this blog and making these little videos I occasionally post here.)
But now that Hollywood has basically set up shop in the area and more and more movies and being made here and there is now a talent pool to back it up, I wonder what would have happened I come back at this present time with script in hand and big dreams if we could have made a go of it. The script I had was co-written by a buddy of mine who had won numerous awards as a playwright so the story was viable and probably would have turned out an OK movie.
Anyway, I’m glad to see this Benh Zeitlin fella, the director of Beasts, has decided to live in New Orleans and make some films. I hope he stays. I always thought New Orleans was the perfect place to have its own film industry. It’s got the talent and the scenery and the history and the artistic sensibility, the quirkiness and the weirdness and it’s deeply embedded spiritual life. I mean it’s got everything a Federico Fellini would have loved to have mined.
Now is the time for a younger generation to really tap into the potential for New Orleans as a film production center. When you are making movies on the cheap it used to be the film stock and developing costs ate into your budget big time. Now with the advent of digital cameras and editing it makes it a whole lot easier and cheaper to make good films anywhere.
Beasts was able to use this new technology cutting way down on costs so they can put what really matters in front of the camera. One thing I commend the producers of this movie is their ability to get people to donate things to them. If you sit through the credits at the end of the film you will see hundreds of people and businesses who donated their time and servies to the production. Being able to gather all those resources is a real talent in itself and speaks a lot about the people who loved the story of Beasts of the Southern Wild enough to make the dream of it come true. Hats off to them.
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