Benjamin Harold “Benh” Zeitlin (born October 14, 1982) is an American filmmaker, composer, and animator best known for directing the 2012 film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
In 2004, Benh co-founded the Court 13 independent collection of filmmakers, named after a neglected Wesleyan University squash court that Zeitlin and his friends commandeered as a filming site. He and his younger sister Eliza moved to New Orleans while Benh was making his first short film, Glory at Sea, in 2008.
In 2012, his first feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild., adapted from a play entitled Juicy and Delicious by Lucy Alibar, won the Caméra d’Or award at the Cannes Film festival, the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at the Sundance Film festival, and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Deauville American Film Festival. The film went on to earn the Los Angeles Film Festival’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and the Seattle International Film Festival’s Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director.