First Lady Michelle Obama is endorsing Oscar-nominated movie "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and has brought it to the White House. The wife of President Barack Obama hosted a private screening of the indie film in the State Dining Room on Wednesday, February 13.
The First Lady was joined by director Benh Zeitlin as well as stars Dwight Henry and Quvenzhane Wallis to the interactive workshop. Mrs. Obama had difficulty pronouncing Wallis' name, and the nine-year-old actress gave the First Lady a permission to call her by her nickname, "Q."
Eighty middle and high school students from the District of Columbia area and New Orleans were invited to the screening. They got to talk to the movie's cast and crew.
"This event is important to me not only because I love and believe in this film, but also because I deeply love and believe in all of you," Mrs. Obama told the students. "I know you're out there and I know your potential, I know your promise," she added. "But like Benh and Dwight and Quvenzhane, what I want you all to understand is that you have to do the work. That's my message: You have to do the work."
The First Lady, who had seen the movie last summer with a group of friends and family ranging in age from three to 75 years, praised "Beasts" for being "old beautiful, joyful and devastatingly honest." She went on singing praise, "It's a movie that makes us all think deeply about the people we love in our lives who make us who we are."
"It shows us the strength of our communities, no matter what they look like. It shows us that those communities can give us the power to overcome any kind of obstacles. And it also tells a compelling story of poverty and devastation, but also of hope and love in the midst of some great challenges," she added.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" was released on June 27, 2012 in New York and Los Angeles, before expanding wider later. It won prizes at several film festivals and gets four nominations at the upcoming Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Lead Actress for Wallis.