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
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Jon M. Chu and Kevin Kwan on the crazy gamble of 'Crazy Rich Asians' Author Kevin Kwan and director Jon M. Chu passionately wanted the movie version of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ to play in theaters. So they turned down a huge offer from Netflix and took their chances with Warner Brothers. Chu and Kwan talk about what they did for love when they made the first major studio movie to feature an all Asian cast in years.
Director Desiree Akhavan on ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ After her first feature premiered at Sundance to strong reviews, director Desiree Akhavan thought finding money to make a second film would be a snap. But after striking out in LA, Akhavan’s quest to make another project ultimately landed her in London. She tells us why she thinks the Brits are more open to her ideas, and talks about her newest film, ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post.’
Banter update: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves accused of sexual misconduct in New Yorker exposé Late on Friday afternoon, a New Yorker investigation by Ronan Farrow dropped, revealing accusations of misconduct against Leslie Moonves by six women. The CBS board met on Monday and announced that Moonves would remain at work while the board works to hire outside counsel to conduct an investigation.
Director Matt Tyrnauer on ‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood’ A new documentary explores the incredible life of 95-year-old Scotty Bowers--a prolific pansexual pimp to the stars. Bowers says he set up liaisons for celebrities from Cary Grant to Rock Hudson to J. Edgar Hoover--all from his base in a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard. Director Matt Tyrnauer tells us about his film, ‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood.’
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