When no one else gave Sean Baker the financing to make his movies, he took matters into his own hands.
The Florida Project may be the first Sean Baker movie you'll go out to see in theaters, but he's been on the scene for a long, long time. Perhaps best known for the iPhone 5s filmed Tangerine, Baker has been a champion of low-budget filmmaking for his entire career.
More so than that, he has been a trailblazer in the democratization of film. Inspired by the Dogme 95 movement pioneered by Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, he makes the absolute best use of the resources that are available to him. Take Out, The Prince of Broadway and, yes, Tangerine were all shot on minuscule budgets with minimal crew and whatever gear they could afford to shoot on.
His latest film, The Florida Project, breaks this trend but keeps the Dogme 95 spirit well alive. It’s his first film to be granted a million dollar budget and shot on 35mm every frame oozes with beauty.
The film is set over one summer in Celebration, Florida (the home of DisneyWorld) and follows the everyday adventures of precocious 6-year-old Moonee, a child whose mother lives month to month in a motel and does some less than favorable things to make rent.
Baker and No Film School's Jon Fusco discuss the director's long road through obscurity, the level of discipline every filmmaker should aspire to own, and how even when no one else believes in you, you can still believe in yourself.
Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find it on iTunes here.