“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Receives Four 2013 Oscar Nominations

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Receives Four 2013 Oscar Nominations

The nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards have been announced, and it was a huge day for the independent film Beasts of the Southern Wild, which received four Oscar Nominations: Best Director (for Benh Zeitlin), Best Actress (Quvenzhane Wallis, at just nine years old), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is the award-winning first feature film directed by Benh Zeitlin and co-written co-written with playwright Lucy Alibar, whose play Juicy and Delicious provides its foundation. Zeitlin created the movie in collaboration with Court 13, the filmmakers’ collective that moved to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Previously, the film won the Caméra d’Or award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered, the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Deauville American Film Festival, the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival’s Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director.

Part dystopia and part revolutionary utopia, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a visionary film that celebrates resistance, featuring people living in poverty who come together in interracial, inter-generational harmony. After a flood washes away most of “The Bathtub,” a poor and precarious patch of land south of New Orleans, Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis, five years-old at the time of filming) and her father account for their remaining animals and neighbors, and attempt to survive, rebuild, and repair their world. They band together to create a post-Katrina communal life and they fight the system in a variety of ways to avoid getting thrown into the sterile, controlled environment of a state-funded shelter.

Zeitlin’s earlier acclaimed short film about an imaginary post-Katrina world in New Orleans, Glory at Sea, won the 2008 CineVegas International Film Festival Special Jury Prize, the 2008 New Orleans Film Festival Narrative Short Award, the 2008 Woodstock Film Festival Jury Prize and the 2008 SXSW Film Festival Wolphin Award. Coming off the award-winning “Glory at Sea,” Zeitlin wanted to continue working on an expanded feature film set in the Louisiana bayou and to tell a story about a community making a final stand. The same theme and mythic, poetic feeling of Glory at Sea, which was also created in collaboration with the Court 13 filmmakers’ collective, clearly carries through in Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild. Like Beasts, Glory at Sea, concerned a southern Delta community endangered by a flood and focused on a young girl, who also served as the film’s narrator. Glory at Sea tells a story about the aftermath of the Katrina flood, and a community’s Orpheus-like efforts to keep alive its old traditions and loved ones.

Glory at Sea: A Beautiful Memorial to Mourning the Dead

Every once in a rare, long while, a film appears with such a sweeping gust of rejuvenation that it has the power to restore not only one’s faith in cinema, but in humanity as a whole. Glory at Sea is one of those rare films, an acclaimed narrative short film that has garnered twelve film festival awards, a film that endearingly produces the forlorn feelings that are amassed within the sea of a forever-sunset palette, sanctioning our mourning within its beautiful sorrow. The 26-minute short film follows an unkempt and unruly fleet of heartbroken refugees through the midst of the human devastation in post-Katrina New Orleans. This one and a half year-long collaborative project by director Benh Zeitlin and members of the Court 13 film collective brought forth a narrative film that reveals a rare mutually interactive blend of contemporary dance/movement, cinematography that is richly packed with a grandly sweeping panorama of visual detail and brilliantly subtle interpersonal gestures by the Court 13 ensemble group of performers.

Glory at Sea boldly confronts a monumental tragedy that vividly displays the fact of our human mortality, as well as the inevitable loss of our dreams for the future (the ghosts of loved ones, banished to live underwater for eternity). The raggedy, raucous New Orleans characters in Glory at Sea boldly turn away from their overwhelming of feelings of mortal vulnerability, courageously responding instead with a communal bond to a renewed and feverish commitment to love and hope.

The passionate call for hope and a common cause is expressed by the film’s ensemble through an emotionally inspiring synthesis of a socially important narrative, the performers’ sense of movement that conveys through even the most subtle interpersonal gestures their deep commitment to mutually shared social needs and responsibilities, and fascinating cinematography with an acute attention to visual detail. When a pinch of insanity and an ongoing tone of understated comical irony are added to all of this, one ends up with an experience that is a musically visual delight. An old phrase describes beautiful and appealing speech as “Music to My Ears.” Glory at Sea ends up “Dancing Behind Your Eyelids.” The twenty-five minutes spent deeply engrossed in this narrative is timeless.

Glory at Sea: A Beautiful Memorial to Mourning the Dead

(Best Viewed HD/Full Screen)

An Anthem to Survivors: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Sometimes miraculous films come into being, made by people you’ve never heard of, starring unknown faces, blindsiding you with creative genius. Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of the year’s best films. Winner of the US Dramatic Grand Jury Prize in Sundance, this striking and unforgettable feature-film debut is set in “The Bathtub,” a defiant Louisiana bayou community cut off from the rest of the world. Young Hushpuppy (played by a five year-old force of nature named Quvenzhané Wallis) is devoted to her father, Wink, who frequently goes off on sprees, leaving Hushpuppy to fend for herself in an isolated compound filled with semi-wild animals.

The community is a resilient and joyous one, but there is a growing sense of inevitable destruction. At school, Hushpuppy is taught about natural selection, global warming and the ecological shifts that have placed them in a perilous position. Things come to a head when Wink comes down with a debilitating illness, a massive storm hits, the ice caps melt and destructive prehistoric beasts are released who descend on “The Bathtub.” Little Hushpuppy has to find in herself the courage and heroism to survive the catastrophe and re-instill a sense of community. Fusing recent history and environmental concerns with a mythical quality, Beasts of the Southern Wild defies easy classification or description, instead forging a new path that firmly establishes director Benh Zeitlin as a bright new cinematic talent. Reviewers are speculating that both Zeitlin and young Quvenzhané Wallis could be nominated for Academy Awards.

An Anthem to Survivors: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Official Trailer)

Beasts of the Southern Wild: Official Featurette

Beasts of the Southern Wild: “Once There Was A Hush Puppy”

Director Benh Zeitlin and composer Dan Romer perform the theme to “Beasts of the Southern Wild” at LACMA

Beasts of the Southern Wild: “Once There Was A Hush Puppy”

Super Soul Sunday: Why Oprah Loves Beasts of the Southern Wild

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An Anthem to Survivors: Beasts of the Southern Wild

An Anthem to Survivors: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wilds is the award-winning first feature film directed by Benh Zeitlin and co-written with playwright Lucy Alibar, whose play Juicy and Delicious provides its foundation. Zeitlin created the movie in collaboration with Court 13, the filmmakers’ collective that moved to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The film won the Caméra d’Or award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered, the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Deauville American Film Festival, the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival’s Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director.

Part dystopia and part revolutionary utopia, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a visionary film that celebrates resistance, featuring poor people who come together in interracial, inter-generational harmony. After a flood washes away most of “The Bathtub,” a poor and precarious patch of land south of New Orleans, Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis, five years-old at the time of filming) and her father account for their remaining animals and neighbors, and attempt to survive, rebuild, and repair their world. They band together to create a post-Katrina communal life and they fight the system in a variety of ways to avoid getting thrown into the sterile, controlled environment of a state-funded shelter.

Zeitlin’s earlier acclaimed short film about an imaginary post-Katrina world in New Orleans, Glory at Sea, won the 2008 CineVegas International Film Festival Special Jury Prize, the 2008 New Orleans Film Festival Narrative Short Award, the 2008 Woodstock Film Festival Jury Prize and the 2008 SXSW Film Festival Wolphin Award. Coming off the award-winning “Glory at Sea,” Zeitlin wanted to continue working on an expanded feature film set in the Louisiana bayou and to tell a story about a community making a final stand. The same theme and mythic, poetic feeling of Glory at Sea, which was also created in collaboration with the Court 13 filmmakers’ collective, clearly carries through in Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild. Like Beasts, Glory at Sea, concerned a southern Delta community endangered by a flood and focused on a young girl, who also served as the film’s narrator. Glory at Sea tells a story about the aftermath of the Katrina flood, and a community’s Orpheus-like efforts to keep alive its old traditions and loved ones.

Glory at Sea: A Beautiful Memorial to Mourning the Dead

Every once in a rare, long while, a film appears with such a sweeping gust of rejuvenation that it has the power to restore not only one’s faith in cinema, but in humanity as a whole. Glory at Sea is one of those rare films, an acclaimed narrative short film that has garnered twelve film festival awards, a film that endearingly produces the forlorn feelings that are amassed within the sea of a forever-sunset palette, sanctioning our mourning within its beautiful sorrow. The 26-minute short film follows an unkempt and unruly fleet of heartbroken refugees through the midst of the human devastation in post-Katrina New Orleans. This one and a half year-long collaborative project by director Benh Zeitlin and members of the Court 13 film collective brought forth a narrative film that reveals a rare mutually interactive blend of contemporary dance/movement, cinematography that is richly packed with a grandly sweeping panorama of visual detail and brilliantly subtle interpersonal gestures by the Court 13 ensemble group of performers.

Glory at Sea boldly confronts a monumental tragedy that vividly displays the fact of our human mortality, as well as the inevitable loss of our dreams for the future (the ghosts of loved ones, banished to live underwater for eternity). The raggedy, raucous New Orleans characters in Glory at Sea boldly turn away from their overwhelming of feelings of mortal vulnerability, courageously responding instead with a communal bond to a renewed and feverish commitment to love and hope.

The passionate call for hope and a common cause is expressed by the film’s ensemble through an emotionally inspiring synthesis of a socially important narrative, the performers’ sense of movement that conveys through even the most subtle interpersonal gestures their deep commitment to mutually shared social needs and responsibilities, and fascinating cinematography with an acute attention to visual detail. When a pinch of insanity and an ongoing tone of understated comical irony are added to all of this, one ends up with an experience that is a musically visual delight. An old phrase describes beautiful and appealing speech as “Music to My Ears.” Glory at Sea ends up “Dancing Behind Your Eyelids.” The twenty-five minutes spent deeply engrossed in this narrative is timeless.

Glory at Sea: A Beautiful Memorial to Mourning the Dead

(Best Viewed HD/Full Screen)

An Anthem to Survivors: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Sometimes miraculous films come into being, made by people you’ve never heard of, starring unknown faces, blindsiding you with creative genius. Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of the year’s best films. Winner of the US Dramatic Grand Jury Prize in Sundance, this striking and unforgettable feature-film debut is set in “The Bathtub,” a defiant Louisiana bayou community cut off from the rest of the world. Young Hushpuppy (played by a five year-old force of nature named Quvenzhané Wallis) is devoted to her father, Wink, who frequently goes off on sprees, leaving Hushpuppy to fend for herself in an isolated compound filled with semi-wild animals.

The community is a resilient and joyous one, but there is a growing sense of inevitable destruction. At school, Hushpuppy is taught about natural selection, global warming and the ecological shifts that have placed them in a perilous position. Things come to a head when Wink comes down with a debilitating illness, a massive storm hits, the ice caps melt and destructive prehistoric beasts are released who descend on “The Bathtub.” Little Hushpuppy has to find in herself the courage and heroism to survive the catastrophe and re-instill a sense of community. Fusing recent history and environmental concerns with a mythical quality, Beasts of the Southern Wild defies easy classification or description, instead forging a new path that firmly establishes director Benh Zeitlin as a bright new cinematic talent. Reviewers are speculating that both Zeitlin and young Quvenzhané Wallis could be nominated for Academy Awards.

An Anthem to Survivors: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Official Trailer)

Making of Beasts of the Southern Wild: Part I

Making of Beasts of the Southern Wild: Part II

Super Soul Sunday: Why Oprah Loves Beasts of the Southern Wild

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Glory at Sea: A Beautiful Memorial to Mourning the Dead

Glory at Sea: A Beautiful Memorial to Mourning the Dead

Glory at Sea is an acclaimed narrative short, which has garnered twelve film festival awards, including awards at The Boston Independent Film Festival, The CineVegas International Film Festival, The New Orleans Film Festival, The Woodstock Film Festival and The SXSW Film Festival. Glory at Sea can be seen as a moving Memorial Day tribute, a film that endearingly produces the forlorn feelings that are amassed within the sea of a forever-sunset palette, sanctioning our mourning within its beautiful sorrow. The 26-minute short film (using the designation “short film” advisedly) follows a rather unkempt and unruly fleet of heartbroken refugees through the midst of the human devastation in post-Katrina New Orleans. This one and a half year-long collaborative project by Benh Zeitlin (director) and members of the Court 13 film collective brought forth a narrative film that reveals a rare mutually interactive blend of contemporary dance/movement, cinematography that is richly packed with a grandly sweeping panorama of visual detail and brilliantly subtle interpersonal gestures by the Court 13 ensemble group of performers.

The underlying music score is an integral component of this film’s mythic narrative, which surges from the depths of epic senseless human tragedy to a doggedly determined communal passion to achieve a transmuting sense of resurrection and deliverance from the catastrophic devastation. Glory at Sea boldly confronts a monumental tragedy that vividly displays the fact of our human mortality, as well as the inevitable loss of our dreams for the future (the ghosts of loved ones, banished to live underwater for eternity). The raggedy, raucous New Orleans characters in Glory at Sea boldly turn away from their overwhelming of feelings of mortal vulnerability, courageously responding instead with a communal bond to a renewed and feverish commitment to love and hope.

The passionate call for hope and a common cause is expressed by the film’s ensemble through an emotionally inspiring synthesis of a socially important narrative, the performers’ sense of movement that conveys through even the most subtle interpersonal gestures their deep commitment to mutually shared social needs and responsibilities, and fascinating cinematography with an acute attention to visual detail. When a pinch of insanity and an ongoing tone of understated comical irony are added to all of this, you end up with an experience that is a musically visual delight. In this way, as the film progresses it takes on a lyrical quality. An old phrase describes beautiful and appealing speech as “Music to My Ears.” Glory at Sea ends up “Dancing Behind Your Eyelids.” The twenty-five minutes spent deeply engrossed in this narrative is timeless. Hence an appreciation for Michael Tulley’s comments about Glory at Sea in /Hammer To Nail:

“Every once in a rare, long while, a film appears with such a sweeping gust of rejuvenation that it has the power to restore not only one’s faith in cinema but in humanity as a whole. These miracles-some minor, some major-are truly blessed creations. They exist on a timeless plane, feeling both brand new and classic at the very same time. They are worlds unto themselves, borne out of a passionate vision, torn from the spiritual recesses of an individual’s soul and transferred miraculously onto the big screen. Benh Zeitlin’s Glory at Sea is one of these miracles. If ever a short film deserved to be written about as a feature, Glory at Sea is it. Which is what makes Zeitlin’s epic spectacle even more stunning. By the time the film’s closing credits appear-after just twenty-five minutes-it feels like one has been taken on a deeply lasting feature-length journey.”

Finally, a number of filmmakers from the Court 13 film collective, the team behind Glory At Sea, worked on Barack Obama’s campaign for months. For the final weeks of the presidential campaign, President-elect Barack Obama adopted the poignant social message of Glory at Sea’s inspirational music score. A music video of the score used on the Obama campaign, “Elysian Fields,” is presented below, as well as the full version of Glory at Sea.

Glory at Sea: A Beautiful Memorial to Mourning the Dead

(Best Viewed HD/Full Screen)

Barack Obama Campaign Music: Glory at Sea/Elysian Fields

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I Get Wet: A Love Story for the Ages

I Get Wet: A Love Story for the Ages

I Get Wet is a short film that was co-written by an amazing afterschool class of elementary school children at the Grace Church School in Lower Manhattan and Benh Zeitlin. Benh Zeitlin directed the award-winning Glory at Sea, a film that was set in Post-Katrina New Orleans. Zeitlin is a member of the acclaimed film collective Court 13, which is a renowned ensemble group of collaborative filmmakers and performers.

I Get Wet begins as a dark tale of school bullying, about an 8 year-old who is constantly being tormented by a secret gang of girls in his elementary school. It turns out to be an adorable short film about a little boy, his best friend Super Dog and the strains placed on their close friendship because he didn’t want to be stuffed into a trash can every single day for the rest of his life. However, by the end of the film, I Get Wet reveals itself to be a true love story for the ages.

I Get Wet: A Love Story for the Ages

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Death to the Tinman: How the Tinman Became a Metal-Man Without a Heart

Death to the Tinman: How the Tinman Became a Metal-Man Without a Heart

Death to the Tinman premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where it received an Honorable Mention for Best Short Film. In addition, Death to the Tinman won the Best Short Film Award at the 2007 Savannah Film Festival; the film has also played at the South by Southwest Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, among others. The film’s Director is Ray Tintori, a 26-year-old filmmaker from Brooklyn (NY), who also directs music videos for various music groups, such as MGMT. Tintori is a member of the Court 13 film collective, which is an acclaimed ensemble group of collaborative filmmakers and performers. The Court 13 collective is renowned for its multi-award winning short film Glory at Sea, a film that was set in Post-Katrina New Orleans. Glory at Sea’s mythic narrative surged from the depths of an epic senseless human tragedy to a doggedly determined communal passion to achieve a transmuting sense of resurrection and deliverance from Katrina’s catastrophic devastation. Glory at Sea valiantly confronted a monumental tragedy that vividly displayed the fact of our human mortality, as well as the inevitable loss of our dreams for the future. The film boldly turned away from the Post-Katrina survivors’ overwhelming of feelings of vulnerability, following the group of survivors as they instead came to courageously respond with a communal bond to a renewed and feverish commitment to love and hope.

Similarly, the mythical Death to the Tinman presents a visual narrative that swells from the unfathomable depths of human tragedy, to an achievement of the renewed capacity for a sense of love and hope. Describing Death to the Tinman, Tintori said, “I wasn’t terribly interested in trying to recreate Oz from the 1930s movies; I just sort of wanted to deal with this world of evangelical mysticism.” Death to the Tinman is an adaptation of the original story of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz series, in which Tintori’s version of the Tin Man is transformed from a human lumberjack to a metal man without a heart. Tintori transported the story’s basic foundation for the original Tin Man story to a surreal, rural 1940s South, replacing Oz magic with evangelical mysticism; pastors, congregations and The Rapture take the place of flying monkeys and witches melting upon contact with water.

Assuredly, rigorous formalism is existent, albeit uncommon among professional American filmmakers today; in addition, films that display an audacious, frenzied love of the medium are equally infrequent. To see all of these factors displayed side-by-side in the same work is profoundly rare, and Death to the Tinman just happens to be one of those epic film creations. Watching Ray Tintori’s Death to the Tinman for the first time, one can feel somewhat shocked by the experience of realizing that what you’re watching is a remarkable breakthrough short film. Tintori’s modern transformation of the original story about how the Tinman came to be the Tinman was created in a way that conveys an underlying emotional tone that progresses from the chaotic, to the quirky, to the profoundly poignant.

If you haven’t seen any of Ray Tintori’s works yet, I would highly recommend that you take twelve-minutes to watch Death to the Tinman. It’s truly a small investment to make in return for a rare, sizable emotional profit.

Death to the Tinman: How the Tinman Became a Metal-Man With No Heart

Photo-Gallery: Death to the Tinman/How the Tinman Became a Metal-Man Without a Heart

(Please Click on Above Image to View Photo-Gallery)

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A Post-Katrina Apocalypse: Glory at Sea

A Post-Katrina Apocalypse: Glory at Sea

Glory at Sea is an acclaimed narrative short, which has garnered ten film festival awards this year, including at The Boston Independent Film Festival, The CineVegas International Film Festival, The New Orleans Film Festival, The Woodstock Film Festival and The SXSW Film Festival. The 26-minute short film (I use the designation “short film” advisedly) follows a rather unkempt and unruly fleet of heartbroken refugees through the midst of the human devastation in post-Katrina New Orleans. This one and a half year long collaborative project by Benh Zeitlin (director) and members of the Court 13 film collective has brought forth a narrative film that reveals a rare mutually interactive blend of contemporary dance/movement, cinematography that is richly packed with a grandly sweeping panorama of visual detail, and brilliantly subtle interpersonal gestures by the Court 13 ensemble group of performers.

The underlying music score is an integral component of this film’s mythic narrative, which surges from the depths of epic senseless human tragedy to a doggedly determined communal passion to achieve a transmuting sense of resurrection and deliverance from the catastrophic devastation. Glory at Sea boldly confronts a monumental tragedy that vividly displays the fact of our human mortality, as well as the inevitable loss of our dreams for the future (the ghosts of loved ones, banished to live underwater for eternity). The raggedy, raucous New Orleans characters in Glory at Sea boldly turn away from their overwhelming of feelings of vulnerability, courageously responding instead with a communal bond to a renewed and feverish commitment to love and hope.

The passionate call for hope and a common cause is expressed by the film’s ensemble through an emotionally inspiring synthesis of a socially important narrative, the performers’ sense of movement that conveys through even the most subtle interpersonal gestures their deep commitment to mutually shared social needs and responsibilities, and fascinating cinematography with an acute attention to visual detail. When a pinch of insanity and an ongoing tone of understated comical irony are added to all of this, you end up with an experience that is a musically visual delight. In this way, as the film progresses it takes on a lyrical quality. An old phrase describes beautiful and appealing speech as “Music to My Ears.” Well, Glory at Sea ended up “Dancing Behind My Eyelids.” The twenty-five minutes spent deeply engrossed in this narrative was timeless. Hence an appreciation for Michael Tulley’s comments about Glory at Sea in Hammer To Nail:

“Every once in a rare, long while, a film appears with such a sweeping gust of rejuvenation that it has the power to restore not only one’s faith in cinema but in humanity as a whole. These miracles-some minor, some major-are truly blessed creations. They exist on a timeless plane, feeling both brand new and classic at the very same time. They are worlds unto themselves, borne out of a passionate vision, torn from the spiritual recesses of an individual’s soul and transferred miraculously onto the big screen. Benh Zeitlin’s Glory at Sea is one of these miracles. If ever a short film deserved to be written about as a feature, Glory at Sea is it. Which is what makes Zeitlin’s epic spectacle even more stunning. By the time the film’s closing credits appear-after just twenty-five minutes-it feels like one has been taken on a deeply lasting feature-length journey.”

Finally, a number of filmmakers from the Court 13 film collective, the team behind Glory At Sea, worked on Barack Obama’s campaign for months. For the final weeks of the presidential campaign, President-elect Barack Obama adopted the poignant social message of Glory at Sea’s inspirational music score. A music video of the score used on the Obama campaign, “Elysian Fields,” by Benh Zeitlin and Dan Romer, is presented below. In addition, the full version of Glory at Sea is provided for you.

A Post-Katrina Apocalypse: Glory at Sea

Barack Obama Campaign Music: Glory at Sea/Elysian Fields

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