Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired U. S. rights to the fantastical drama Beasts of the Southern Wild. Directed by Benh Zeitlin and written by Lucy Alibar and Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild stars Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry. The film was produced by Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey and Josh Penn. Philipp Engelhorn, Paul Mezey and Michael Raisler are executive producers . The film is scheduled to be released in 2012.
"In his feature film debut, Benh Zeitlin has crafted a visually stunning and deeply poetic film that captured our hearts. The amazing performances by newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry are a wonder to behold," said Nancy Utley and Gilula.
"The making of Beasts of the Southern Wild was defined by a deliberate, collaborative process and we're thrilled that Fox Searchlight Pictures has embraced the spirit of the film," said Gottwald, Janvey and Penn.
"We were looking for a partner who would unleash our film on the world with the same energy and ferocity with which we made it. Fox Searchlight came to the table with big hearts and fierce resolve, they're a perfect match for the project," said Zeitlin.
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions.
The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight's Vice President of Acquisitions Ray Strache, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions Tony Safford and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O'Brien with WME Global's Graham Taylor and Mark Anker and Andre Des Rochers of Gray Krauss Stratford Des Rochers LLP on behalf of the filmmakers.
Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.