10 Lessons on Filmmaking from Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Benh Zeitlin

Benh Zeitlin gives his thoughts on directing.

The 30-year-old Zeitlin’s journey from short to feature is a true fairytale in the landscape of American indie cinema. Working with a collective of artists called Court 13, Zeitlin created one of those rare game-changing shorts, Glory at Sea, which attracted the attention of the not-for-profit foundation Cinereach. They came on board to finance his feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild at a budget of $1.5M. What resulted was an ethereal film rich in emotion and breadth, unlike anything anyone had ever seen, earning 49 awards to date, and no less than four Academy Award nominations.