Beasts of the Southern Wild took the 2012 Academy Awards by storm and catapulted then nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis to stardom and earned her a nomination for Best Actress. Now the film’s director, Benh Zeitlin, is in Antigua to shoot his next film.
The new movie, tentatively named “Wendy” is a fantasy adventure film about a tribe of children living on a remote island who never age.
But before delving too deeply into Zeitlin’s new project, the director and producer will be hosting a screening of Beasts of the Southern Wild on August 16, complete with a Q &A session with Zeitlin afterwards.
Ambassador at large for the development of film in Antigua & Barbuda, Bert Kirchner says Zeitlin’s new film is the biggest production ever to come to Antigua.
“In general, any production we can bring to our shores will be beneficial to the development of the film industry,” he said. “We have a lot of talent here.”
Zeitlen’s production company, Court13, is off the beaten track as far as the typical Hollywood production house is concerned—a fact that only added the hype around the success of Beasts of the Southern Wild. This new project will be no different.
“It’s not a hundred million-dollar movie coming in with airplanes and giant everything. It’ll be a small group of people building out of scrap metal and things we find, and the interesting thing is that even though we’re such a small production the reach could be very, very far,” Zeitlin said.
“It’s a lot of very young people who want to have great time and want to be a part of the place that they’re filming. It’s a small group of people.”
This news is all terribly exciting, but the biggest story to come out of Zeitlen’s visit is that he’s scouring the region looking for a child to star in the film. This is the second of Zeitlen’s films that prominently feature small children, and while some might balk at the thought of working with the often temperamental and fussy tots, Zeitlin seems to love it.
“The most interesting thing that I actually really love about working with kids is that the set has to be fun. If a set isn’t fun you’re not gonna convince a six year old that they have to perform,” he said.
“Usually film sets are not fun but we strive to make it a place where a kid wants to be which also creates a wonderful sort of experience for everybody else.”
Casting for the film begins in Barbuda in early August. Interested parties can contact Kirchner at 464-6044 or [email protected]