Benh Zeitlin on The Treatment

E: One of the things that fascinates me about all these things that you've worked on is this sense of exploration, of going out and seeking things out out of curiosity, and I wonder if that's always been a part of your life -- if you've always been this guy who will go out and dig into tunnels or go into forrests and look for things...

B: Definitely, it took me a long time to decide that film was the art form that I wanted to pursue over music and writing and other types of things and a big part of the reason why was seeing Kusturica's films, seeing Underground and Black Cat White Cat, those films have this sense of a life that exists not just on screen but outside the screen that I wanted to figure out how to create for myself. Being a filmmaker opens doors in this incredibly beautiful way. When you travel, you know, when you go down to the bottom of the road in Terrebone Parish... Everyone knows when you go down the road with a New York license plate, they know you're there as soon as you drive down the road. There's a territoriality and resistance to outsiders coming in. But I think the beautiful thing about being a filmmaker is that everybody loves movies and you get to go down to the docks and say I'm making a movie about the end of the world and this little girl and it opens doors and you get invited into homes and you get invited to dinner in a way that's pretty extraordinary. Making these types of films where you collaborate with the community has allowed us to grow this strange family of people that come from very far away and get welcomed into these very remote cultures and that sort of exploration is something that I would  be doing whether or not i was making films, certainly.

Benh Zeitlin geeked out with Elvis Mitchell about Les Blank, Mad Max, Braveheart, and junk sculptures on KCRW's the Treatment with Elvis Mitchell.