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Super Shorts: Glory at Sea

An audacious hybrid of myth, Hurricane Katrina, and the spirit of New Orleans, Glory at Sea is an epic short from director Benh Zeitlin. (And is it the mark of a new Wesleyan film mafia?)

Michael Bay may be the most obviously successful (in dollars) graduate of the Wesleyan University film program but in the past chunk of time, the school has churned out successful filmmakers, actors, and writers right and left. Known as the "Wesleyan Mafia," some of these talents include Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Matthew Weiner (Mad Men), Paul Weitz (About a Boy), and Mike White (Freaks and Geeks, School of Rock).

What Benh Zeitlin's short Glory at Sea makes painfully, fantastically clear is that there is another run of Wesleyan graduates due to make a move in cinema: so far, Zietlin and Ray Tintori (the Sundance short Death to the Tinman, numberous videos for MGMT and Chairlift) are making initial waves, and we can't wait to see what's next.

The 25 minute flick made the festival rounds in 2008, winning prizes at South by Southwest and ultimately appearing on McSweeney's DVD mag, Wholphin. Perhaps its biggest kudos was when President Obama's campaign used its score in an ad. The film is a stirring, epic fable about grief and how we deal with it; based in the Orpheus myth, it blends water and New Orleans' mysteries and our national hurt over Hurricane Katrina into something beautifully human. Zeitlin, one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film, has recently finished a stint at the Sundance Directors and Screenwriters Lab along with playwright Lucy Alibar, working on a project (currently) called Beasts of the Southern Wild, about a ten-year-old Louisiana girl and the Southern Apocalypse. It sounds perfect for the young director—he has a sure, sensitive hand with children and a dreamy, grand sense of location.

Catch up with Zeitlin and collaborators at his official Court 13 website.



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