It’s been seven years since Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” was hailed at Cannes, Sundance and the Oscars. And yet, the 37-year-old filmmaker has kept a fairly low profile since then, working on a mysterious movie called “Wendy.” Production on “Wendy” began in March 2017 but now, more than two years later, it is still not ready.
I do know for a fact that “Wendy” has test-screened in the West Coast. Does this mean the film has been submitted to the fall festival circuit. Well, sort of. The gist of the matter is, according to a source at Fox Searchlight, Zeitlin’s picture was screened for and accepted by Toronto but decided to skip the fest after its writer-director decided to go back to the editing room. According to this same FSL source, the screening for TIFF was more a courtesy for the friendship the studio had with TIFF than an actual “wanting-it to-be-screened” kinda thing.
The most complete description of what “Wendy” is about actually comes from Zeitlin himself in 2015:
"The new film is about a young girl who gets kidnapped onto a hidden ecosystem where a tribal war is raging over a form of pollen that breaks the relationship between aging and time," Zeitlin said at the time. Adding, "It follows a friendship-love story-adventure of her and a joyous, reckless, pleasure-mongering young boy as they swirl in and out of youth and as the ecosystem around them spirals toward destruction. We’re working on it all day every day, but as all psychotic adventures go, you know where your destination is but not how long it’s going to take to get there."
It does sound like the magical realism of “Beast of the Southern Wild” will be on full display in “Wendy.” I am still very interested in watching the final product. There is a chance we are likely to catch Zeitlin’s film in the coming months, maybe even a Sundance 2020 premiere come next January.