Sundance Standout Receives Inaugural Leggat Prize

At a ceremony held last week, the San Francisco Film Society honored debut filmmaker Ben Zeitlin, director of the highly imaginative Sundance Film Festival Grand Prize Winner BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD with the inaugural Graham Leggat Award. Leggat, the former executive director of the Film Society who passed away last August, was a pivotal figure in the deepening of the mission and activities of the Film Society beyond its annual Film Festival (which ended on May 3). Thanks largely to Leggat’s vision, the Film Society has grown to become a true filmmaker organization that supports films and filmmakers at all stages of production. Award winner Ben Zeitlin is a New Orleans-based director, animator, composer and a founding member of Court 13. Named by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film”, Zeitlin made several short films before he participated at the Sundance Labs and won the NHK International Filmmakers Award for his magical realism debut feature BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. The finished film made its world premiere debut at the Sundance Film Festival this past January, where it was indeed the sensation of the event. The film will reach a wider audience when it is released on June 27 by indie powerhouse distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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