Benh Zeitlin’s debut film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year and will screen in Cannes as an official selection of Un Certain Regard. Fox Searchlight won the heated bidding war for the film’s distribution (against all the major heavyweights, including IFC, Focus Features, The Weinstein Co., Sony Pictures Classics and Oscilloscope). THR says Beasts of the Southern Wild “played to a rapturous response for its unique vision and strange beauty.” Developed at the Sundance Institute filmmaker labs and cast with non-professional actors, Beasts centers on Hushpuppy, a six-year-old girl who lives with her tough-love father at the edge of the water on the outside of protective levees in southernmost Louisiana. As he becomes sick and tries to prepare her for the end of the universe, mildly apocalyptic events cause the seas to rise, animals and trees to begin dying and giant, prehistoric creatures to thaw from the ice caps. As they struggle to survive with a handful of their neighbors who also refuse to leave their water-drenched home (called the Bathtub), Hushpuppy is forced to comprehend her place in the universe. Check out the fullsized poster after the cut.