Benjamin Harold "Benh" Zeitlin is a filmmaker, composer, and animator known for directing the 2012 film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Zeitlin, who was born and raised in New York City, graduated from Wesleyan University and, in 2004, he co-founded the Court 13 independent collection of filmmakers, named after a neglected Wesleyan University squash court that he and his friends had once used as a filming location.
In 2008, Zeitlin and his younger sister Eliza moved to New Orleans while he was making his first short film, Glory at Sea.
In 2012, Zeitlin's first feature film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was adapted from a play entitled "Juicy and Delicious" by Lucy Alibar, won the Caméra d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival, and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 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. Zeitlin was also given a Humanitarian Award for his work on the film at the Satellite Awards in 2012. Notably, Zeitlin both directed Beasts of the Southern Wild and co-composed the score.
In 2020, Zeitlin's feature film Wendy made its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival. The film, which is intended to be a reimagining of the classic "Peter Pan" story, was adapted from a screenplay by Zeitlin and his sister.
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