Filmmaker Benh Zeitlin and his colleagues approach filmmaking like it's a community art project. Their successful indie film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, is a lesson in how their methods could yield the adoration of the mainstream film industry. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Palm d’Or at Cannes. Now many see it as a likely Oscar winner.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Kim Masters and John Horn, film writer for the Los Angeles Times, banter about some of this week's top Hollywood news stories.
- Election Night TV viewing: ratings, Diane Sawyer, Karl Rove and Twitter
- Now that President Obama was re-elected, how will he go forward in terms of the fight between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over piracy? He'd angered some in Hollwood with how he handled the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Both industries donated generously to his re-election campaign. How will he handle efforts to balance internet freedom with protecting intellectual property?
Benh Zeitlin doesn't have an MBA. In fact, he doesn't even know what one is. He's an artist -- a writer, director, composer-- who spent his early 20's looking for a way to live cheaply so that he could make his art. He made short films with groups of friends, family and non-professionals in the manner people approach making a community art project. The term for their unconventional filmmaking method is Court 13. And they achieved some success on the festival circuit with their 2008 short film Glory at Sea. That got the attention of the financier Cinereach and the Sundance Labs. And it was those two entities that empowered them to make their first feature. Beasts of the Southern Wild, with its winning performances by two people who'd never acted before -- Quvenzhane Wallis (a six-year-old girl) and Dwight Henry (a local baker), has become a favorite movie of 2012. Now Zeitlin and the rest are on Hollywood's radar but he's sure they won't get corrupted by the business.
Benh Zeitlin with Quvenzhane Wallis