On making Glory at Sea:
When they ran out of money for the second time, Court 13 threw a party at Buffa’s, their local bar/unofficial headquarters/living room, to show footage they’d shot so far, to keep spirits high before leaving town to rustle up more funds. This meant that the giant, moldy, “Katrina-ed” house they were inhabiting (they called it the Hotel Bastardo) where 25-30 people were living at any given time, was left uncharacteristically empty. The collective came home to find the place ransacked, and among the stolen items were the hard drives holding all they had shot for “Glory at Sea.” They immediately returned to the hard drive they had just used for the screening at Buffa’s, which promptly crashed upon loading.
While Zeitlin returned to New York to try to data-recover the hard drive, members of Court 13 posted fliers around the area offering a reward for the stolen footage. They received a call from the thieves and arranged a no-questions-asked rendezvous at Buffa’s. A couple of very nervous members of the collective arrived with a wad of cash and waited, and as hours passed and no one showed up, they got drunk. And as they got drunk, they began spilling the beans. As word spread around the bar, people got upset -- many of them knew the filmmakers and knew about, or were involved in, the movie. Patrons went home and returned with concealed knives. A shotgun was hidden behind the bar. Eventually, a huge man carrying a bag ducked beneath the doorframe and entered. He stepped aside, revealing a 4’5” transvestite in a mesh shirt, who turned out to be in charge. The exchange went down without trouble, but as the thieves were leaving, Cedric, who plays the father of the narrator in the film, approached them with a shotgun. “If anyone ever goes in that house again,” he said, “they’re gonna have to answer to god.
Read IndieWire's profile on Benh Zeitlin here.