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SFIFF Bestows Graham Leggat Award to "Beasts of the Southern Wild" Director Zeitlin; Film to Play Cannes in Un Certain Regard

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood April 19, 2012 at 6:05PM

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.
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Benh Zeitlin at Sundance
Benh Zeitlin at Sundance

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.

This article is related to: Festivals, News, News, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Interviews , Cannes, Festivals


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.