Oscar Watch – The Florida Project

A24 is one of the few studios that are not afraid to take risks and they have been pretty successful so far. Their film Moonlight won Best Picture at this year’s Oscars and their other favorites include, American Honey, 20th Century Women, The Lobster and Swiss Army Man just to name a few. 

A24 has a handful of other releases this year including The Florida Project. A fresh buy from the Cannes Film Festival. This is Director Sean Baker’s follow-up to Tangerine that he shot entirely on an iPhone 5 and one of the best movies of 2015. For The Florida Project, Baker moved past the iPhone and shot it in 35 mm. 

The plot according to IMDB: The story of a precocious six-year-old and her ragtag group of friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure while the adults around them struggle with hard times.

Baker was fascinated by a strip of Orlando’s budget motels on Route 92, just a mile away from Disneyworld. Originally built for tourist, these motels now house families who lost their homes and have nowhere else to go. 

Brooklynn Prince plays 6-year-old Monee. The films relied on local casting and Bria Vinaite who plays Monee’s ex-stripper mother Halley was discovered on Instagram. Willem Dafoe plays the motel manager and the closest thing to a father that these people ever know. 

The Florida Project played well at Cannes and will likely make the festival circuit at Telluride and Toronto for an inevitable Oscar push. Time will tell if the Academy will embrace this small film much like they did with Beasts of the Southern Wild in 2012. If anything, it’s bound to make an impact at the Spirit Awards. 
The Florida Project opens October 6th. 

No trailer yet, but here is a clip: 

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