On the morning of March 9, when we were at SXSW, I met a fellow involved with the short film Glory at Sea. He was sitting in the lobby of the Ramada Inn where I was staying, and he was dazed and confused because he'd just been involved in a terrible car accident on the way to their film's premiere with some fellow crew members, including director Benh Zeitlin, who, as we spoke, was in emergency surgery for a shattered hip bone and broken pelvis. Zeitlin is recovering from his injuries, thankfully, but he had no medical insurance, and is facing tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost work time as he recovers.

Rooftop Films, which helped finance the short, has set up a webpage for those who'd like to help a fellow filmmaker out. They've also asked filmmakers whose films screened at SXSW to let Zeitlin borrow DVD screeners to watch, since of course he ended up missing out on the entire fest. I can't imagine going through all the work to make a film, getting it accepted at SXSW, and then having this happen; we'd like to encourage anyone who may be so inclined to visit Rooftop's page about Zeitlin and lend a hand to help him out. They're also looking into setting up some benefit screenings, and when we have word of those, we'll keep you apprised.

I missed the film at the fest, but I've heard really excellent things about it. Spout.com has an excellent review of the film up:

The hyperbolic storytelling, the flatly declarative dialog and madcap pace are the same, as is the ever insistent score, but gone is the absurdist irony and emotional detachment. Zeitlin's after something bigger. This is a grand romance, an allegory, a story about, yes, post-Katrina New Orleans. Above all, this is a cinematic experience explicitly designed to move audiences, and as such it is explicitly, overtly manipulative; every little detail is designed to evoke a response; the strings always swell at all the right moments.

Go read the full review, and if you saw the film at SXSW and liked it, drop a line in the comments here or over at Rooftop to let him know. Recovering from an injury like this takes time, but maybe hearing from those who appreciated his film will help a little. We at Cinematical wish Zeitlin a speedy recovery.

[via Spout Blog ]