“This is sort of old man talk right now. I mean, I just turned 30…”
While the rest of my friends live-texted me as they sat in on “Diversity University: In Theory and In Practice” this past Monday night, I had the pleasure of strolling over to the CFS to listen to Benh Zeitlin ’04 and Dan Janvey ’06 discuss their critically acclaimed film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
For those of you who have been living in a cultural bubble for the past year, Wesleyan alum Zeitlin co-wrote and then directed Beasts of the Southern Wild, a film about a young girl named Hushpuppy who tries to cope with the environmental struggles of living in the Louisiana bayou and her own emotional turmoil as she deals with her terminally ill father. The film has captured the imagination of film critics and audiences everywhere, and it even caught the eye of Oprah Winfrey and our newly re-elected president Barack Obama. In addition to widespread acclaim from critics, Beasts took home the Caméra d’Or at Cannes, the Grand Jury Prize for Drama at Sundance, and the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival, to name a few of the many accolades. Even more impressive, over 28 other Wesleyan graduates worked on the film, including Janvey, who served as one of Beasts‘ producers.
At the event on Monday, after some slightly awkward (and slightly awesome) banter between Film Studies’ Jeanine Basinger and the two filmmakers about which famous Wesleyan alum had sex in the Davison Art Center, Zeitlin and Janvey held the “world premiere” of the official behind-the-scenes footage from Beasts, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.
Read after the jump to hear about some of the crazy sick nasty stuff that happened on the set of Beasts, as well as what Zeitlin and Janvey had to say about their Wesleyan experiences and beyond.