Middletown will be strongly represented at the 84th Academy Awards next month in Los Angeles, when Wesleyan University alumni Benh Zeitlin ’04, who received four Academy Award nominations on Thursday, will alum, Dan Janvey ’06, in the audience.
Beasts of the Southern Wild, which opened June 27, 2012, and grossed $11.2 million, is the critically-acclaimed film directed by Zeitlin, who also co-wrote the film with longtime friend Lucy Alibar, and was produced by Janvey.
It garnered four nominations this year: Best Picture, Best Director (Zeitlin), Best Adapted Screenplay (Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar), and Best Actress (Quevenzhané Wallis).
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Janvey, 28, and Zeitlin, 30, both originally from Queens, N.Y., visited Wesleyan in November, according to the student-run campus blog Wesleying, to screen the film and behind-the-scenes footage, hosting the event with Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger, followed by an audience question-and-answer session.
In 2004, he co-founded the Court 13 independent collection of filmmakers, named after a neglected Wesleyan squash court that Zeitlin and his friends used as a filming site during his university career.
Wesleying says Zeitlin is the recipient of prestigious film prizes at several film festivals, including Sundance and Cannes and Beasts quickly became a favorite of President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey.
In 2005, Basinger said of Zeitlin, according to Wesleying:
“Benh is the real deal,” said Jeanine Basinger, his former advisor and Chair of the Film Department. “He’s got amazing talent, works terribly hard, and he has an original, quirky sensibility. The combination was irresistible.”
Beasts is out on DVD and the 84th Academy Awards air on Feb. 26 on ABC.
- Movie Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild