With its bat-out-of-hell cinematography and attractive DIY-style approach, not to mention stellar performances, Tangerine was one of the break-out features of 2015. While it attracted attention due to being shot entirely on an iPhone, its recognition went beyond its aesthetic to signal a strong directorial voice. Director Sean Baker is now back with The Florida Project, which premiered at Cannes and follows a group of kids on the fringes in Orlando. Ahead of an October release via A24, the first trailer has now landed.
“There are surely few sweeter delights in this troubling world of ours than seeing Willem Dafoe politely escort a group of storks off a motel driveway,” we said in our Cannes review. “It is, perhaps, the best of a number of striking visual flourishes in Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, an aesthetically rich but narratively slight film that sees the writer-director (along with cinematographer Alexis Zabe) switch from the saturated and much-celebrated iPhone camerawork utilized for his last film Tangerine to the crackle and unmistakable warmth of celluloid.”
Also starring newcomers Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto, Christopher Rivera, and Bria Vinaite, check out the trailer and poster below.
Warm, winning and gloriously alive, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a deeply moving and unforgettably poignant look at childhood.
Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince in a stunning breakout turn) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinaite, another major discovery) over the course of a single summer. The two live week to week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget motel managed by Bobby (a career-best Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion.
Despite her harsh surroundings, the precocious and ebullient Moonee has no trouble making each day a celebration of life, her endless afternoons overflowing with mischief and grand adventure as she and her ragtag playmates—including Jancey, a new arrival to the area who quickly becomes Moonee’s best friend—fearlessly explore the utterly unique world into which they’ve been thrown. Unbeknownst to Moonee, however, her delicate fantasy is supported by the toil and sacrifice of Halley, who is forced to explore increasingly dangerous possibilities in order to provide for her daughter.
With The Florida Project, Sean Baker gives life and a voice to a community rarely seen on screen. Through the winsome eyes and pained glances of Moonee, Halley, and Bobby, Baker has created a spellbinding and transformative portrait of contemporary lives lived in the margins that are otherwise too easily forgotten. The Florida Project declares, boldly and proudly, that anywhere can be a Magic Kingdom – it just depends on how you see it.
The Florida Project opens on October 6.