"Sometimes miraculous films come into being, made by people you've never heard of, starring unknown faces, blindsiding you with creative genius," Roger Ebert writes in his review of Beasts of the Southern Wild. The Cannes and Sundance award-winning film is so original and compelling that critics can't quite figure out where it came from. It didn't materialize from thin air, of course. The collaborative filmmaking group behind Beasts, Court 13, spent years in Louisiana scraping together a low-budget production and cast of nonprofessional actors, with spectacular results (see this Creators Project documentary for details about the making of the movie).
But before Beasts, the same team produced a 25-minute short in 2008. Also directed by Benh Zeitlin, Glory at Sea features a similar coastal apocalypse and magical realism as the indie feature. Beasts gets its heart from the father-daughter story adapted from Lucy Alibar's one-act play Juicy and Delicious, but the themes of survival and redemption in storm-ravaged coastal Louisiana already appear here. If you liked Beasts, you'll enjoy watching the genesis of the feature film in this short, and if you haven't seen it, Glory at Sea might just convince you to check it out.