Michael Gottwald (red shirt), producer of "Beasts of the Southern Wild," speaks to Dr. Nathaniel Kohn's Producing for Film and Television class.
‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ Producer Speaks to Grady Class
Date: August 31, 2012
Author: Nate Kohn
Contact: Nate Kohn, email@example.com
Michael Gottwald, producer of "Beasts of the Southern Wild," brought his experience and advice to a group of Grady students in Dr. Nathaniel Kohn's Producing for Film and Television class on Wednesday.
An independent film, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" tells the story of a young girl and her father in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and has quickly gained critical acclaim, receiving the Camera d'Or at Cannes and Grand Jury award at Sundance. The film has been noted for its original blend of Americana, surrealism and passionate loyalty to the culture of Louisiana on the wrong side of the levees. The film is a Sony Pictures Classics release.
In class, Gottwald discussed the many challenges in producing an independent film on location and his personal experiences in the film industry. He stressed the importance of a passionate and compatible team. For Gottwald, working with friends and local Louisianans was vital to make such an unconventional production successful, as well as maintaining the genuine feel of the bayou.
"You aren't set up in groups," he said, citing a difference between school and the real world. "You have to find people you want to work with, and that's where we started."
Gottwald discussed his job as producer both specifically for "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and within the film industry in general, telling stories of his experiences to explain how versatile and all-encompassing the job can be, as well as how the landscape is shifting in the digital age.
"I believe — I hope — going to LA to produce is increasingly less important," Gottwald replied to questions about location filming. He also gave encouraging words to students who asked questions about the restrictions and requirements of becoming a producer and defined a producer as someone who knows how to make things happen.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" is currently showing at Ciné in downtown Athens.
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