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Tosa Producer's Film, 'Beasts of the Southern Wild,' Earns Oscar Nomination

Film executive produced by Michael Raisler, who grew up in Wauwatosa, is one of nine movies in the running for Best Picture Academy Award.

After winning awards at the  Sundance and Cannes film festivals, a movie produced by a Wauwatosa native is in the running for the biggest prize of all: an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Michael Raisler's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" was one of nine nominees for the top honor announced Thursday moring.

Raisler, a 2003 graduate of Pius XI High School, and two of his partners were the executive producers of the film. It also won the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and the Golden Camera Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

The movie received three other Oscar nominations on Thursday: Best Director (Benh Zeitlin), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Quvenzhané Wallis) and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar). Wallis, who is 9, is the youngest nominee ever for the Best Actress award.

In a July interiew with Patch, Raisler talked about how he was home for Christmas 3½ years before, sitting in his family’s Wauwatosa living room, when he first read the draft screenplay of “Beasts.”

Then just 22, he told his mother he would do whatever it took to see it become a feature film. This would be a film he would help produce, firsthand and hands-on.

“This was something I was not going to let not get made,” Raisler said in the interview.

The screenplay for “Beasts of the Southern Wild" by Lucy Alibar, was adapted from her stage play "Juicy and Delicious." Set on a small, swampy island — the “Bathtub” — outside the last levee on the remote Louisiana coast, it centers on a little girl and her terminally ill father, among the few, impoverished families that inhabit this primordial world.

The girl, Hushpuppy, played by Wallis, lives so close to unbridled nature, both its wonders and its horrors, that she becomes part of it, believing that animals speak to her, and that when necessary, her primal screams can ward off invisible threats.

Hushpuppy also believes, along with the other islanders, that their sinking home will be washed away by a gigantic hurricane, if it is not first overrun by great beasts released by melting icecaps somewhere in a world they can’t even imagine.

The New York Times review calls the movie “a blast of sheer, improbable joy, a boisterous, thrilling action movie with a protagonist who can hold her own alongside Katniss Everdeen, Princess Merida and the other brave young heroines of 2012.” Venerable film critic Roger Ebert has already declared the film to be one of the best of the year, giving it four stars.

Jacob February 24, 2013 at 03:56 PM
First off, whoever wrote this article is a complete idiot. In case you aren't aware, we are in the year 2013. If this loser graduated from high school in 2003, if you go back "3 and a half" years from today, that would not make him 22, it would make him 25-26!! Secondly, who the hell cares about this guy?? This is a nobody doing a low budget film that does not have ONE famous actor/actress in the screenplay! What a crock of BS! Go report on a real story not some nobody doing a cheap film that nobody has ever heard of!
Hardworking Mom February 25, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Jacob it's unfortunate that you seem to be so filled with hate and jealousy. Mr. Raisler has produced a film nominated for the highest honor a film can earn. Let's just enjoy the local boy done good aspect of the story, and if you can't do that, try not to embarrass yourself with all of this unwarranted hostility.
Jim Price February 25, 2013 at 03:48 AM
Jacob, Patch doesn't have an age requirement, but do your mommy and daddy know you're playing naughty on the computer? It's after your bedtime now, son. Please do come back to Patch when you grow up.

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