Beasts of the Southern Wild
"We never could have finished this film if it hadn’t been for the San Francisco Film Society."
—Director Benh Zeitlin
Two-time SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant recipient Beasts of the Southern Wild continues to win awards around the world. The film won the Caméra d'Or award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival after competing in the Un Certain Regard section. It also won the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered, and the Grand Jury Prize at the Deauville American Film Festival. The film went on to earn the Los Angeles Film Festival's Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and the Seattle International Film Festival's Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director. In October, the British Film Institute announced that the film had won the Sutherland Trophy for Most Innovative Debut.
|Read the San Francisco Chronicle review |
"'Beasts of the Southern Wild' explores the fertile and terrifying world of a child's imagination. Its fertility and its terror stem from the same truth: To the young mind, there is no sealed barrier cleaving reality from fantasy . . . The film is its own beast, and it's a rare one."
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Dir. Benh Zeitlin
Producers: Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Josh Penn
Awarded $55,000 for post production Spring 2011
Awarded $50,000 for post production Spring 2010
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, six year-old Hushpuppy exists on the brink of orphanhood. Her mother long gone, and her beloved father Wink a wildman on a perpetual spree, Hushpuppy is left to her own devices on an isolated compound filled with semi-feral animals. She perceives the natural world to be a fragile web of living, breathing, squirting things, in which the entire universe depends on everything fitting together just right. So when a hundred year storm raises the waters around her town, her daddy is suddenly stricken with illness, and fierce pre-historic creatures awaken from their frozen graves to come charging across the planet, Hushpuppy sees the natural order of everything she holds dear collapsing around her. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive an unstoppable catastrophe of epic proportions.
Benh Zeitlin is a director, animator, and composer and a founding member of Court 13. He lives in New Orleans where dogs, cats, ducks, chickens and a 350-pound swine runs wild in his home. Director of award-winning shorts Egg, Origins of Electricity, I Get Wet and Glory at Sea, Filmmaker Magazine named him on of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film." Zeitlin participated in Sundance Labs and won the NHK International Filmmakers Award at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival with his film Beasts of the Southern Wild. In 2010 and 2011 he was awarded SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants for post production for Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Josh Penn is a New Orleans based film producer with Court 13. His first feature film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, is premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. In 2009, Josh was selected to take part in Sundance’s Creative Producing Initiative; in 2011 he was selected to take part in the Cannes Producers Workshop. He previously produced the short film, Glory at Sea, which won 15 film festival awards including SXSW and the Woodstock Film Festival. In addition to films, Josh has also produced a number of music videos including MGMT’s Time to Pretend and Electric Feel. He is currently producing two documentaries in post: the Ross Brothers' “Tchoupitoulas” and Sara Dosa’s “Roots and Webs,” as well as developing two fiction films: Mark Elijah Rosenberg’s "Ad Inexplorata" and Ray Tintori’s "Untitled Adventure Serial." Outside of film, Josh’s work includes acting as the Michigan New Media Director for Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign and Senior Program Manager for the launch of Obama’s 2012 Re-election campaign.
Dan Janvey is an independent film producer. His first feature is BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, directed by Benh Zeitlin, which was made in the bayous of Southern Louisiana. Prior to this Dan produced numerous award winning short films, including Ray Tintori’s DEATH TO THE TINMAN, and Zeitlin’s GLORY AT SEA. All of these movies were made with the filmmaking collective Court 13, of which is he a proud member. Dan participated in the Sundance Institute Creative Producing Initiative as a Mark Silverman Fellow.
Michael Gottwald, originally from Richmond, Virginia, graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Film Studies in 2006, after having assistant directed Benh Zeitlin's first film egg (2004) and directed his own film Frame of Reference (2006). He served as Executive Producer on Court 13's Glory at Sea in 2007, concurrently working for the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.; in 2008 he worked for Obama for America as a Field Organizer during the primaries, and as Ohio New Media Director during the general election. With Josh Penn and Dan Janvey, Michael produced Court 13’s first feature film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin. He is currently producing documentary filmmakers the Ross Brothers’ second feature, Tchoupitoulas, currently in post-production, and third feature, (Untitled Bordertown film), on which he also served as Spanish language production coordinator.
"One of the most striking films ever to debut at the Sundance Film Festival, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a poetic evocation of an endangered way of life and a surging paean to human resilience and self-reliance." Tod McCarthy The Hollywood Reporter
"The standout of this year’s Sundance and among the best films to play at the festival in two decades, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” isn’t an obvious studio-dependent title." Manohla Dargis New York Times
"But it’s the kind of film one would expect to see in huge doses every year at the Sundance Film Festival – an independent film (both in budget and spirit) that manages to challenge, astonish and inspire audiences." Tambay indieWIre
Buy the DVD
The Music of 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' from Rolling Stone
Benh Zeitlin on CBS This Morning from Fox Searchlight
Meet Quvenzhané Wallis, star of 'Beasts' from Fox Searchlight
Buy the soundtrack on iTunes