If you enjoyed Beasts of the Southern Wild, check out Benh Zeitlin’s short film, Glory at Sea, which landed him 1.3 million from Cinereach to make Beasts (Zeitlin estimates it would have cost 10-14 million if shot conventionally).
As for being privileged, Zeitlin isn’t quite a trust-funder. His parents help run the New York nonprofit City Lore, dedicated to preserving modern folklore, which fueled his interest in traditional bayou culture. To shoot his pre-Beastsshort film, 2008’s Glory at Sea, he moved to New Orleans nine months after Katrina and maxed out his credit cards to the tune of $37,000. He was able to get out of debt thanks to an insurance payout that came after a drunk driver hit his car on the way to Glory’s South by Southwest premiere. (He won an award; his friends brought it to him in the hospital.) Check out this article for more info: How Beasts of the Southern Wild (and Its 8-Year-Old Star) Became a Film-Fest Phenomenon.