“Wendy” Turns “Peter Pan” Inside Out

Director Benh Zeitlin took 8 years to make another film after his critically-acclaimed first feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild. You’d think that a man who won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and received 4 Oscar nominations, then landed a first-look deal with Fox Searchlight would have cranked out a new movie within a few short years. But Zeitlin took his time to develop a project near and dear to his heart, a reimagining of the classic children’s tale Peter Pan, but told from Wendy’s perspective.

In addition to his long development process, Zeitlin worked with the same directorial approach as his last film, and used unprofessional child actors and real locations, in this case a Caribbean island with a live volcano. It was an intense, grueling shoot that took two months. He turns the wild nature of the place into a separate character, terrain that informs the children’s own wild behavior, which is as much a part of the landscape as the volcano and capable of the same explosive intensity.

Ben Zeitlin, director of "Wendy"
Director Ben Zeitlin

Zeitlin’s magical-realist style is on full display with Wendy, for which he creates an adult-free utopia where anything can happen. But the biggest change comes through the depiction of his determined protagonist, as Wendy is a girl with real agency who takes charge of the story’s direction.

Don’t miss this special advance screening of Wendy, only at the Grand lake Theatre in Oakland, Thursday February 20, shown with two short films, The Last Day of Autumn and We Are One. Buy your tickets here!

Director Valerie LaPointe Presents Pixar’s “Lamp Life”

Valerie LaPointe is a director, writer, and animator with some impressive credits. She shares original story credit on Toy Story 4, and was an artist for Inside Out and Brave. So we’re very excited to have her at the festival to participate in one of our long-running series of animation industry presentations, How Do They Do That?

"Lamp Life" still image
Bo Peep in Lamp Life

Valerie has directed several shorts, but her first directorial credit while at Pixar is the new film Lamp Life, starring Toy Story character Bo Peep (voiced by Annie Potts).

Valerie LaPointe
Director Valerie LaPointe

The short specifically covers the adventures of Bo Peep between the second and third Toy Story films, and paves the way for her growth into the woman of action she becomes in the fourth film. There’s plenty of drama, as we also meet Gabby Gabby (voiced by Christina Hendricks), Bo’s antagonist in Toy Story 4.

Valerie will show a special screening of this new animated short, and follows it up with a presentation with details about the short film’s creation, so this event is a must-see for Pixar fans and those interested in the process of making animation.

Be sure to catch this event on Sunday, February 23rd at 2:30pm, only at BAICFF 2020!