GQ: What did you learn about Southern Louisiana and Cajun culture that you didn't expect to uncover?
Benh Zeitlin: Cajuns teach fearlessness to their children, which is the opposite of what you experience in the Northeast, where people are raising children in a fear based culture of phrases like, "don't cross the street alone" and "don't talk to that person." If you drive by casually in Southern Louisiana, you will see children running around alone, but that's part of a plan. This region breeds the strongest people. They are so brave, and they have to be in order to live in that region. I am really in awe of that. We'd tried to express that in the film, with Wink as a father who doesn't coddle his daughter, but instead, expresses his love for Hushpuppy by allowing her to be on her own, to make her tough and ready to survive without him.
Read the full interview here.