Benh Zeitlin

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD and more Sundance faves earn Oscar nominations

Article: BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD and more Sundance faves earn Oscar nominations

Every year there’s one. A surprise, sometimes a long-shot, but a performance that’s so undeniably stunning it just can’t be ignored by audiences (or the Academy). And in this year’s Oscar nominations — announced today — that surprise was Sundance Film Festival favorite BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD’s QuvenzhanĂ© Wallis, who at 9 years old is the youngest Best Actress hopeful ever. (For the past decade, WHALE RIDER’s Keisha Castle-Hughes has owned that distinction, but she was a whopping 13 years old when nominated.)

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD and more Sundance faves earn Oscar nominations

Article: BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD and more Sundance faves earn Oscar nominations

Every year there’s one. A surprise, sometimes a long-shot, but a performance that’s so undeniably stunning it just can’t be ignored by audiences (or the Academy). And in this year’s Oscar nominations — announced today — that surprise was Sundance Film Festival favorite BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD’s QuvenzhanĂ© Wallis, who at 9 years old is the youngest Best Actress hopeful ever. (For the past decade, WHALE RIDER’s Keisha Castle-Hughes has owned that distinction, but she was a whopping 13 years old when nominated.)

Top 10 film rebels fighting for independents

Article: Top 10 film rebels fighting for independents

Making movies costs lots and lots of money. Dependency is the name of the game in the studio system and the clichĂ© of the executive producer coming to set and scaring everybody straight is surely based on actual events. ‘Indies’ used to be the alternative to that system, but that movement is now so big, such an institution in its own right, that ‘Independent’ may no longer be the most accurate nomenclature. ‘Indie’ is one of the haziest terms in the film industry; in the era of Steven Soderbergh’s watershed indie hit SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE, things were more cut and dry, you were either in or outside of the studio system.

BEASTS director Benh Zeitlin & George Gund honored at 'Celebrate Sundance Institute'

Article: BEASTS director Benh Zeitlin & George Gund honored at 'Celebrate Sundance Institute'

Filmmaker Benh Zeitlin (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD) and philanthropist George Gund will be the first-ever recipients of the Sundance Institute Vanguard Awards, presented by Tiffany & Co. The awards will be given at the second annual ‘Celebrate Sundance Institute’ benefit, June 6 in Los Angeles.

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD: Director and star dish on the making of the best movie at Sundance

Article: BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD: Director and star dish on the making of the best movie at Sundance

Benh Zeitlin, the 29-year-old director of the most talked-about movie—and now, winner of the coveted Grand Jury Prize—at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, is running late. So QuvenzhanĂ© “Nazie” Wallis, star of Zeitlin’s film, does what any other 8-year-old girl would do to pass the time—eats a couple oranges, guzzles a can of Sprite, extols the virtues of ‘Wizards of Waverly Place,’ and parks herself in front of my laptop computer for a rousing game of ‘Ninja Painter.’ It’s a far cry from the crawfish, vodka, and cardboard box-cave painting of her character, Hushpuppy.

The Sundance Review Revue: BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

Article: The Sundance Review Revue: BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

On my computer at home, I keep a running list of every movie I watch (in a related story: I didn’t have a girlfriend until I was 18. Can you believe it?). Beneath that list, I keep a second running list of all the movies I need to watch. When I can’t make it to a festival like Sundance, I look at reviews and tweets and take note of the stuff that I need to keep on my radar. This morning I added the first Sundance ’12 movie to that second running list: BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD.