Beasts of the Southern Wild: What made it so special?

Watershed's Top 10 Sellers of 2012

We've celebrated our 30th birthday, said goodbye to the Olympics, survived a fake apocalypse and taken down the Christmas decorations, so now 2013 is upon us with a vengeance we thought we'd take a look back at 2012's year in film here at Watershed.

We've celebrated our 30th birthday, said goodbye to the Olympics, survived a fake apocalypse and taken down the Christmas decorations, so now 2013 is upon us with a vengeance we thought we'd take a look back at 2012's year in film here at Watershed.

2012 kicked off oh so quietly with a little silent film called The Artist. It'll come as no surprise to anyone that Michel Hazanavicius' multiple award-winner is tapdancing all over the number one spot on the year's top sellers: it was our most successful film ever, with a whopping 13,628 of you coming through our doors to see why this joyous film made such a big noise.

Here are the rest of the films you helped get into our Top 10 sellers of 2012 list:

  1. The Artist
  2. Marley
  3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  4. Moonrise Kingdom
  5. The Master
  6. Carnage
  7. Shame
  8. Sightseers
  9. A Dangerous Method
  10. Untouchable

We had a look back at these films with our Head of Programme Mark Cosgrove, and we were surprised and very pleased by the appearance of Beasts of the Southern Wild in the top three.

Mark said:

"There are certain titles that you expect to be a box office success - films like Marley, Moonrise Kingdom and The Master you can guarantee will get an audience at Watershed. Beasts of the Southern Wild, however, really surprised us. It's the story of a young girl in a mythical, swampy patch of the Southern United States that seemed to go from strength to strength, and I'd be really interested to know why it struck such a chord with the good people of Bristol - especially as it has just gone on to receive four Oscar® nominations."

Did you see Beasts? What is its magical quality that took a hold of your imagination? Let us know in the comments section below, and share your film favourites of the past year, too. There's bound to be some films that don't feature in the top sellers, but nonetheless made a big impact.

Mark programmes the 200-plus films we show on our screens, and his personal favourite was, hands down, Michael Haneke's Amour, which he says more than deserves to be adorned with the word 'masterpiece'.


He elaborated a bit more on its 'perfection' in the November Podcast, where he also said he was concerned that its subject matter may put people off - either because it's too close to home or because aging seems like an eternity away. Could this be why Amour got healthy numbers but no where near the figures of his last film The White Ribbon? It's hard to say, but we'd definitely urge you to catch it on DVD when you can and let us know if you too think it's a masterpiece.

This is how the rest of his ten personal favourites look:

  1. Amour
  2. Rust and Bone
  3. Snows of Kilimanjaro
  4. Holy Motors
  5. The Turin Horse
  6. Shame
  7. The Kid With A Bike
  8. Sightseers
  9. A Simple Life
  10. The Hunter

Looking ahead to 2013, we're interested in what exactly will be expected of cinema and independent films. Here at Watershed we support both independent films and the diversity of world cinema, and this is an interesting (albeit sometimes difficult!) time to be a venue like us.

Mark talks a bit more about the future of cinema in this post digital, multi-platform age in January's Podcast, where he takes a look at the challenges cinemas and film have faced in this brave new world, and asks what it means for exhibitors, and for audiences. How, where and why are people going to consume film? And is programming now more a process of dealing with making meaning rather than merely making money?

Whatever the answers (we'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter, too), we're still bringing the best independent films to our screens and to Bristol.

In the Spring look out for the return of Filmic, our celebration of film and music we've produced in collaboration with our friends up the road at St George's. We've already confirmed legendary composer Phillip Glass (The Hours, The Truman Show, Kundun) for an in conversation event here at Watershed (he's also in concert at St Georges) plus a season of his films, and a programme of Bristol-based musical talent. Keep checking the website for more details as and when they are confirmed.

Thank you for making 2012 so special - for celebrating our 30th birthday with us, and for making it a record-breaking year. We're excited about what 2013 will bring, and we look forward to welcoming you through our doors in the next twelve months.


A good list in what was not, I think, a vintage year.

For me the stand-out film of 2012 was 'Once Upon A Time In Anatolia', - difficult to say without sounding pretentious I know, but I thought it was a masterpiece worthy of Tarkovsky.

I also really liked 'The Artist', 'Rust & Bone', 'The Kid With A Bike' and 'Le Havre' (a bit of a francophile tendency on my part, no doubt) and I thought 'The Master' was a hugely impressive piece of work. Of small-scale US indie films, I really loved 'Your Sister's Sister' and 'Liberal Arts'.

Sadly, I thought 'Moonrise Kingdom' was an atrociously shallow piece of time-wasting, pure style over content, but there you go!

I'm sorry I missed 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro' and maybe 'Sightseers', but you can't win them all..

Another Earth arrived just at the beginning of 2012 and turned out to be my favourite film at the Watershed.


The Hunt
The Turin Horse
Cafe de Flore
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Goodbye First Love
The Raid:Redemption
Moonrise Kingdom
The Giants
The Hunter
A Royal affair

Just a postscript to my earlier comment. I missed Amour first time round, but I'm so pleased it was re-screened in late January 2013.

An absolutely beautiful film.

Barbera was v good

I only came by this article to check if my personal favourite film of last year had made the list - Untouchable .

I don't get the chance to get out even half as much as i'd like , and am sorry to have missed other films i'd hoped to see such as Rust and Bone , ; however i did a mini - film season looking for films i could watch with my 19yr old son and we both just Loved this film, I Loved the lead acting of Francois Cluzet and the joyous performance of Omar Sy, Loved going along with the uplifting mood and complete time off , qualities which are much needed , but as here , with soul and integrity .

It was just wonderful and enriching to be able to share it with a teenager and know he could get as much out of the film as me . i've kept looking out for it in awards ceremonies , saw it got a nomination for the Brits , but not the Oscars . Since the film i've enjoyed looking up clips on youtube of the man the film was based on talking on youtube - some great words of wisdom to be heard from the man himself in interview

Totally agree about Untouchable—a fabulous film, incredibly funny and moving and yet entirely without any cynical attempts to tug on our heart strings. Even more affecting for me though was Searching for Sugarman, the documentary about the musician Rodrigues. Forget the best of 2013, it has gone straight into my all-time top ten.

i miss the watershed films so much im moving back to bristol!

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