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'Beasts of the Southern Wild' Gets Oscar Nod For Hastings Grad

Filmmaker Benh Zeitlin, a Hastings native, with actress Quvenzhané Wallis in the making of "Beasts of the Southern Wild". Photo Credit:
Benh Zeitlin, Oscar nominee for the "Beasts of The Southern Wild" in his graduation picture. Photo Credit: Hastings High School, 2000 Yearbook

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - Hastings High School graduate and director Benh Zeitlin was nominated Thursday by the Motion Picture Academy for his work on the Oscar-nominated film "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

Zeitlin received nominations for directing and writing for the film's adapted screenplay, which he wrote with longtime friend Lucy Alibar. "Beasts" was also nominated for best film.

Zeitlin, 30, was born in New York City and raised in Sunnyside, Queens before moving to Hastings-on-Hudson. He reportedly began his career as a filmmaker at the tender age of 6 when he and a friend made a Batman movie. He continued making films as a child before attending Wesleyan University, where he majored in film.

"We are going absolutely crazy," Zeitlin told CNN Newsroom's'c Ashley Banfield in an interview this morning. "We're still shaking. Even though there was some talk about it, we are totally shocked. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing."

Eight-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, who was nominated in the Best Actress category, began filming when she was six. Zeitlin said the prodigious Wallis, who is the youngest person ever to be nominated as best actor male of female, "just carried the movie away" with her performance. Willis was six when filming began in 2010.

“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” which opened in the summer of  2012, features Oscar-nominated Quvenzhané Wallis, who plays a 6-year-old girl faced with her father's fading health and environmental changes that release an army of prehistoric creatures in her Delta-community of New Orleans.

Coincidently, ""Beasts of the Southern Wild" is scheduled to be screened Sunday in the Talking Pictures Series at the Andrus On Hudson Senior Center, 185 Old Broadway in Hastings-on-Hudson.

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