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