Four years ago, in a lull between working the Democratic primaries of 2008 as a field organizer and before the general election really commenced, and a few months since Glory at Sea had first hit the festival circuit, I was on a vacation with my family, on a National Geographic boat that cut through the floating ice of the Arctic Circle, giant fjords on either side of us. Occasionally the boat would pull ashore onto one of these little strips of land so we could hike around and look at wildlife, and even more rarely, come across manmade structures that had been there since the Viking days. One modern structure I remember was the cultural house on the most "populous" island, Longyearben. Back on the boat, I snapped photos of the crazy ice floats in this otherworldly feeling place. I sent them back to my friend Benh Zeitlin, knowing his affinity for worlds like this. He replied enthusiastically.
Cut to today, November 13, 2012. Another election over with, and the global expansion of Beasts reaches new frontiers. That same environment that stoked Benh's imagination will now play host to Beasts of the Southern Wild, in that very same cultural house in Longyearben -- which is part of Svalbard, an island in the Arctic Circle that is the province of Norway -- making this the northern-most screening of Beasts ever. Having been there, I can honestly say it blows my mind (in a joyful way of course) that we are playing in such a far off place as Longyearben. From ice age like visuals to the steamy Southern Wild and back again, our film just keeps beasting it across the globe. Next stop: let's play Antarctica!
- Michael Gottwald, Beasts Producer
Beasts of the Southern Wild plays at the The Culture House of Longyearbyen in Norway for one night only, Wednesday, Nov 14th.