Directed by Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) is a film that lies somewhere between drama, fantasy and an epic poem. Set in the mythical Bathtub of southern Lousiana, this perpetually flooded bayou would seem realistically uninhabitable, yet in this story, a dedicated, determined (and destitute) few still call it home. A real family of survivors, they make a home in and around the waters, fend off storms, disease and forced evacuations. While the main character, a girl only called Hushpuppy, wards off the Aurochs – giant, warthog-like creatures – that run wild in the bayou alongside them.
One of the main standouts (besides the film’s incredible young star, Quvenzhané Wallis) are the low-fi special effects that elevate an initially realistic shooting style to the realms of fantasy. Shunning CG effects for the right camera angles and optical illusions, special effects unit director Ray Tintori achieves a brilliantly unique vision for Zeitlin’s film.
For a more in-depth look, head over to The Creators Project Blog for both a behind-the-scenes video and interview with Zeitlin and Tintori – they cover everything from working with real, live pigs to drawing effects inspiration from old copies of Cinefex magazine.
The Creators Project is a partnership between Intel and Vice, sponsoring and promoting creativity, technology and the youth culture. You can find out more about them and other projects on their home page.
And if you haven’t seen Beasts of the Southern Wild yet – What are you waiting for? Go! For further persuasion, check out our own stellar review of the film.