by Mark Elijah Rosenberg
March 11th, 2008


GloryAtSea3.jpgA few days ago, I posted below about “Glory at Sea!” a short film directed by Benh Zeitlin of Court 13 Productions. It’s a movie that Rooftop Films partially funded, and which is an amazing, uplifting, collaborative project, a mythical narrative about a community (set in post-Katrina New Orleans) coming together to build a raft to join their loved ones after a fatal flood.  

Please take a moment to read what I wrote when I attended the cast and crew screening in New Orleans last week:

On the way to his SXSW premiere, Benh’s car was rear-ended at a stoplight. Benh has shattered his hip and broken his pelvis. Three other people in the car with him also had minor injuries. Benh was in surgery all day, and it appears that he will recover. I visited him in the hospital and his spirits are remarkably high, but he’s facing a long, painful, expensive recovery process. And he could use your help.

There are a few things you could do, if you’re a friend, a supporter, a SXSW filmmaker.


GloryAtSea4.jpgI was hyping this film long before Benh’s accident, but now more than ever go see his truly inspiring and uplifting film. Michael Tully, who writes for IndieWire and Hammer to Nail, saw the film and said he wanted to stand up and shout hallelujah. You’ll feel the same, and the rest of the cast and crew will really appreciate your support. “Glory at Sea!” screens:

Shorts Program 3
Tuesday, March 11, 12pm, Alamo Lamar 2
& Friday, March 14, 2:30pm, Alamo Lamar 2

There are so many amazing, inspiring films here at SXSW, and this is such a supportive community, I have no doubt that the outpouring of kindness will be tremendous.  

We’ll have a guest book at the screening so that Benh can receive some of the feedback he’ll be missing by not being there. Please take a moment to tell him your thoughts about the film.

If you already saw the film, or can’t make a screening, you can also send an email to Benh at <benh AT court13 DOT com>.

GloryAtSea6.jpgOne of the unfortunate results of this accident is that Benh, who has made such a beautifully collaborative project, is sadly missing the festival experience here at SXSW. (The SXSW staff has been very supportive, but of course there’s nothing to be done to get him out of the hospital right now.) He would love to see films and meet people. On top of that, he’s going to be laid up in a hospital bed with no entertainment for some time.

We’re asking that SXSW filmmakers please donate a DVD of your film to Benh.

We understand of course that some of you may not be comfortable having DVDs of your film floating around at this time, so if you can’t lend a DVD, that’s okay. But if you don’t mind passing on a copy of the film to a trusted filmmaker, it would be a sweet gesture. You can drop off your film:

Convention Center
(near the screening room)
Tuesday, March 11, 4-6pm

I along with some of the crew from the film will be hanging out at at a table, so drop by and donate a DVD to Benh. (We’ll try to set up a small sign. Otherwise look for me, a guy with a shaved head. And I’ll wear a colorful tie.) Other forms of entertainment, support, get well cards, etc., are also welcome. If you can’t come then, drop me a line at mark AT rooftopfilms DOT com and we’ll try to arrange something else.

GloryAtSea7.jpgBenh does not have health insurance and is facing tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost income while he’s laid up. It may be that the car insurance will cover his expenses, but unfortunately, it’s not clear if that’s the case (issues surrounding the driver of the other vehicle are sketchy). I will keep you posted if and when financial support becomes necessary (and promise not to send a glut of emails). You can check and for updates.

I know that Rooftop, SXSW and others are also discussing benefit screenings, so stay tuned.  

Thank you all in advance for your support. I know that Court 13 and Rooftop Films and SXSW have a really strong community here and that we’ll be able to support a filmmaker and a friend in need.


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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.


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