COURT 13 SHOWCASE
FROM 'GLORY AT SEA': The 25-minute film from Benh Zeitlen and Court 13 that immediately preceded "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
7 p.m. Friday, March 20. $5.
, the film and arts collective that director Benh Zeitlin
("Beasts of the Southern Wild") co-founded as a student at Wesleyan University, draws its name from an abandoned squash court he and his friends commandeered while in school. "It had this tiny little door that felt like going through the looking glass," he told Fast Company
. "It just felt like you cross this threshold and this is a different set of rules that brings a different code of behavior." That spirit of wonder and defiance and ingenuity became the unifying principle behind Court 13, with members first collaborating on psychedelic videos for the band MGMT and surrealistic short films, and then moving, almost en masse, to New Orleans to make "Glory at Sea,"
a short film about a group of mourners who build a raft out of debris to rescue loved ones trapped undersea. "Glory" was supposed to take a month and cost $5,000, but it ballooned into a year- and-a-half-long shoot, on a $100,000 budget (including massive credit card debt), with a 25-minute runtime. It directly preceded "Beasts of the Southern Wild," an even more sprawling production that went on to win Sundance's Grand Jury Prize and the Caméra d'Or at Cannes and land four Academy Award nominations. On Friday, as part of the Arkansas Times Film Series, co-sponsored by the Little Rock Film Festival, we are screening a Court 13 shorts program that includes "Glory at Sea." There to talk about what the collective is all about will be Casey Coleman
, who heads Court 13 Arts, and Nathan Harrison
, who's head of casting for the "Beasts" follow-up, which Zeitlin has said
is "about a young girl who gets kidnapped onto a hidden ecosystem where a tribal war is raging over a form of pollen that breaks the relationship between aging and time." Sounds promising.