It's a great day to be Behn Zeitlin. Not only did his Sundance Grand Jury prize-winning "Beasts of the Southern Wild" land in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, but the San Francisco Int'l Film Festival (April 19 – May 3) is bestowing upon him their inaugural Graham Leggat Award at their Film Society awards night on April 26.
The award honors both the late Leggat and the society's Filmmaker360 program. SFIFF's acting director Melanie Blum says Zeitlin, whom the society has supported, "has completely captured our imaginations and enthusiasm from our first meeting with him," adding that "Graham was part of the original granting panel that awarded Benh one of two SFFS/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaker postproduction grants, totaling $105,000, for 'Beasts of the Southern Wild.'" The Film Society and its highly regarded Youth Education program will be the beneficiary of the star-studded fundraiser honoring Zeitlin.
Here's our Sundance interview with Zeitlin on "Beasts," which will be released by Fox Searchlight June 27.
The Fest is also honoring Kenneth Branagh ("Thor") with the Founder's Directing Award, given to a master of world cinema; Judy Davis ("Husbands and Wives") with the Peter J. Owens acting Award; and David Webb Peoples ("Blade Runner," "Unforgiven") recipient of the Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting.