QUVENZHANÉ WALLIS (Hushpuppy) was born on August 28, 2003, in Houma, Louisiana. She attends Honduras Elementary School and is in the 3rd grade. She is the daughter of Venjie Sr. and Qulyndreia Wallis. Qunyquekya, Venjie Jr., and Vejon are her siblings. Her favorite pastimes are reading, singing, dancing, acting, and playing her iPod and Nintendo DS. Her favorite TV stars/singers are China McClain, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus, and her favorite food is stir-fry Alfredo Chicken. Her favorite sports are basketball, volleyball, dance and cheerleading.
A spellbinding adventure set just past the known edges of the American Bayou, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD follows a girl named Hushpuppy as she takes on rising waters, a sinking village, changing times, an army of prehistoric creatures and an unraveling universe that she bravely tries to stitch back together through the sheer force of spirit and resilience.
The film, shot on location in the coastal parishes of Louisiana with local non-actors in the lead roles, came to the Sundance Film Festival a hand-made, fiercely imaginative underdog and left a runaway hit and winner of the coveted Grand Jury Prize as well as the Excellence in Cinematography Award. By the time that happened, the fictional “Bathtub” — a fantastical bayou neverland inspired by real Southern Louisiana communities where people persist against all odds to revel in life, no matter what comes — had taken on a life of its own in the hearts of many, unfolding with all the indescribable sights and untamed emotions of a dream in progress.
Much like Hushpuppy’s survival in the midst of raging storms, both in the sky and her heart, the whole enterprise of BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD began as a pipe dream that became possible only through the commitment of a strongly united community. For director and co-writer Benh Zeitlin, who makes his feature debut after a series of award-winning shorts, including GLORY AT SEA, it started with a question that had been on his mind for a long time: why do people stay in the places they love, with the people they love, even when they know big trouble is on the way?
“Daddy says brave men don’t run from their place.”
“I’ve always been interested in holdouts,” says Benh Zeitlin. “Like why do people stay in a place that’s difficult to live in or that’s dangerous or that puts your life at risk? Why do people stand by their homes in times of disaster?”
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