Baker in August 2012
|Born||February 26, 1971|
Summit, New Jersey, U.S.
|Alma mater||New York University|
Sean Baker (born February 26, 1971) is an American film director, cinematographer, producer, screenwriter and editor. He is best known for the independent feature films Starlet, Tangerine, and The Florida Project.
Life and career
Baker was born and raised in Summit, New Jersey. He has one sister who is a professional Synth-Pop musician and production designer who has contributed to his films in both capacities. He graduated from Gill St. Bernard's High School in 1989. He received his B.A. in film studies from New York University through the Tisch School of the Arts. Prior to NYU, he studied Intensive Editing at The New School in Greenwich Village.
Baker's first feature film was Four Letter Words, a film revolving around the looks, views, attitudes and language of young men in America. Baker wrote, directed, and edited the film. Baker then went on to make Take Out, which he co-wrote, co-directed, co-edited, and co-produced with Shih-Ching Tsou. The film revolves around an illegal Chinese immigrant falling behind on payments on a smuggling debt, leaving him only one day to come up with the money. The film had its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival on January 18, 2004, but was not given a limited release until June 6, 2008. Baker's third feature film, Prince of Broadway, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 22, 2008. The film follows a New York street hustler who makes his living creating name-brand knock offs, and his discovery that he has a son. Baker directed, wrote, co-produced, shot and edited the film, which was given a limited release on September 3, 2010.
Baker's fourth feature, Starlet, was co-written with Chris Bergoch, and stars Dree Hemingway and Besedka Johnson. Starlet explores the unlikely friendship between 21-year-old Jane (Hemingway) and 85-year-old Sadie (Johnson), two women whose lives intersect in California's San Fernando Valley. The film had its world premiere at SXSW on March 11, 2012, and was given a limited release on November 9, 2012. It opened to mainly positive reviews and holds an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Baker's fifth feature, Tangerine, follows a transgender sex worker who discovers her boyfriend and pimp has been cheating on her. The film was shot using three iPhone 5S smartphones and received praise for its groundbreaking filmmaking techniques. Tangerine features Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O'Hagan, and James Ransone, and was executive-produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass. Baker again co-wrote the script with Bergoch; he also co-produced, co-shot, and edited the film. It had its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015, and was given a limited release on July 10, 2015. It received extremely positive reviews, and currently holds a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Baker's most recent feature, The Florida Project, premiered in the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 6, 2017, by A24. Once again, Baker edited the film himself and co-wrote the script with his frequent collaborator Chris Bergoch. The plot follows a 6-year-old girl living in a motel with her rebellious mother in Greater Orlando as they try to stay out of trouble and make ends meet. The film was praised for its performances (particularly that of Willem Dafoe as the motel manager) and Baker's direction, and was chosen by both the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute as one of the top 10 films of the year. Dafoe earned Best Supporting Actor nominations at the Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards.
Baker is also one of the original creators of the sitcom Greg the Bunny, starring Seth Green and Eugene Levy. The show is based on a series of short segments that Baker directed and wrote, which aired on the Independent Film Channel and which were in turn based on a public-access television show called Junktape. In 2010, Baker, Spencer Chinoy, and Dan Milano created a spinoff called Warren the Ape; the series aired on MTV and was canceled after one season.
Sean Baker has called the following films as his favorites
- Paradise: Faith (2012)
- Babes In Toyland (1932)
- Bad Lieutenant (1992)
- Dawn of the Dead (1978)
- Harold and Maude (1971)
- The Idiots (1998)
- Naked (1993)
- Oasis (2002)
- The Road Warrior (1981)
- Scarface (1983)
- Used Cars (1980)
- River's Edge (1986)
- A Christmas Story (1983)
- Kes (1969)
- Riff Raff (1991)
- Claire's Knee (1970)
- Mystery Train (1989)
|2000||Four Letter Words||Director, writer, editor|
|2004||Take Out||Co-director, co-writer, co-producer, co-editor|
|2008||Prince of Broadway||Director,co-writer, co-producer, cinematographer, editor|
|2012||Starlet||Director, co-writer, co-producer, editor|
|2015||Tangerine||Director, co-writer, co-producer, co-cinematographer, editor|
|2016||Snowbird (short)||Director, writer, co-producer, editor|
|2017||The Florida Project||Director, co-writer, co-producer, editor|
|2002–2006||Greg the Bunny||Creator, director, writer, editor, cinematographer|
|2010||Warren the Ape||Creator, director, writer, producer|
- Whitty, Stephen. "NYFCC awards go to Saoirse Ronan, 'Girls Trip,' NJ director", Inside Jersey, November 30, 2017. Accessed June 26, 2018. "And Summit native Sean Baker's heartbreaking The Florida Project, about a struggling single mother and her amazingly resilient daughter, was not far behind, with a best director award for Baker and a best supporting actor prize for Willem Dafoe."
- Grobar, Matt (2018-01-01). "'The Florida Project' Production Designer On Tracking Down Dreamy Pastel-Colored Locations For Dark Fairy Tale". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
- "MNDR Give Living Days' 'Thrill Anybody?' a Crisp Facelift". Spin. 2014-07-30. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
- "Stephonik Youth". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
- "GSB Alumni Magazine: Winter 2016". Issuu. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
- Mikel, Ryan (2018-03-05). "Sean Baker: "The Florida Project"". Washington Square News. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
- "Sean Baker Tells Students There's 'No Set Formula' for Filmmaking | The New School". www.newschool.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
- "Tangerine Director Sean Baker Talks Monster Flicks". Pasunature.com. July 16, 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
- Indiewire.com (June 3, 2008). "indieWIRE INTERVIEW | "Take Out" Co-director Sean Baker". Indiewire.com. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
- Juarez, Vanessa (June 25, 2008). "L.A. Film Festival: 'Prince of Broadway'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
- "Prince of Broadway". Fandango. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
- "Starlet". SXSW.com. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
- "Starlet". MusicBoxFilms.com. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
- "Starlet (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "Beyond using progressive filming techniques and casting, Tangerine is expressive and warm". Nashville Scene, By Jason Shawhan
- Setoodeh, Ramin (January 23, 2015). "Sophisticated 'Tangerine,' Shot on iPhone 5s". Retrieved January 28, 2015.
- "Tangerine". Apple Trailers. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
- "Tangerine (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
- "Tisch Alumni Win Cannes Honors". NYU.edu. Jun 2, 2017. Archived from the original on 29 Apr 2018.
- "AFI Awards 2017". AFI. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
- "National Board of Review Announces 2017 Award Winners". National Board of Review. November 28, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
- Rubin, Rebecca (December 11, 2017). "Golden Globe Nominations: Complete List". Variety. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
- "The Shape of Water leads Bafta nominations". BBC News. January 9, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- "Why was the warren the ape show canceled". Chacha.com. Archived from the original on November 22, 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
- "IONCINEPHILE: Sean Baker's Top Ten Films of All Time List".