The award-winning Beasts of the Southern Wild is becoming one of the art house hits of the summer – and it’s a relatively little known fact that the man responsible for how the film looks is a Brit.
New York based cinematographer Ben Richardson, who grew up in England, worked tirelessly on location in swampy Louisiana to get some of the most distinctive images seen on cinema screens this year.
As he recalls it was a very challenging shoot. “They have more kinds of bugs than you could possibly imagine. Tiny little bites, you know, a thousand cuts. And then the heat was intense. We were on water a lot of the time, obviously working with non-professional actors, animals. It was a pretty intense shoot,” he says.
The film recounts the story of a young girl called Hushpuppy who learns how to be a survivor while her community is under threat and her father is dying.
Richardson says, “For me, the emotional journey and what the film has to say about the nature of family, the nature of a community and what it means to stand by the things that are important to you in life, that really means a lot to me. I hope that’s what people take away from it.”
The picture has garnered some excellent reviews – and it’s won prizes both at Sundance and Cannes – and Richardson himself won the Excellence in Cinematography Award at Sundance.
He’s clearly a cinematographer to watch.
Have you seen Beasts of the Southern Wild? What did you think?