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Homegrown Oscar
Milwaukee native financed Beasts of the Southern Wild, which is nominated for four Oscars.

Gossip about Oscar snubbing has been plenty since the awards were announced. But no one would say that Beasts of the Southern Wild was one of the films on the official snub list. The indie film was nominated for four awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress, for 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis’ performance. (She’s the youngest actress to ever be nominated.) Director Benh Zeitlin was also nominated in the contentious Best Director category.

And there’s a Milwaukee connection. Milwaukee native Michael Raisler co-founded Cinereach, a New York-based production company and foundation, which financed the film. Raisler was in town for a Milwaukee Film members-only screening of the film last August, and Moviegoers’ blogger Mack Bates spoke with him about the film.

Can you explain the role an executive producer plays on a film?
The credit can mean a lot of different things in film. Sometimes executive producers are folks that literally just write a check, sometimes they're heads of studios or companies or etc., and sometimes they play a much more active role in the production as was the case here. It really depends on the project.

Beasts was a really special film, it's a huge movie that we had a comparatively tiny budget for. We basically had to piece it together and have an "all hands on deck, all the time" mentality. I lived in Terrebonne Parish (La.) for around four months while we prepped for and shot the film. I was on set every day to support the producers and director and basically do whatever I could to help ensure we were executing our shared vision for the project. Sometimes that meant negotiating location agreements, sometimes it meant building a giant tent. On the last day of the shoot, it meant loading the camera. From my perspective, my job is to build a sandbox for the production team and try to keep as much sand in it as possible for them to work with, without freaking out when a little bit spills out of the box every now and again.

Read the full interview here.

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