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“An emotional debt is hard to square” —Iceberg SlimIn the treacherous waters of mass narcissism, Sean Baker's cinema is a floating anomaly. While many of his peers' careers are built on the compulsive cult of (their) vacant selves, and the artful maintenance of the ego seems to be the sole artistic purpose of their cinema (from Alex Ross Perry to Miguel Gomes, the plague is as vast as it is virulent), Baker's cinema is an antithetical response to this widespread tendency. With the selfie rapidly becoming the ultimate aesthetic form of our times, his work constitutes an affective disentanglement from the deadly embrace of the amour de soi. But instead of traveling to faraway lands to impress his own gaze onto subjects that cannot be possibly comprehended, as in the case of the Sensory Ethnography Lab flicks and their post-human Orientalism, Sean Baker has consistently pointed his camera six feet beyond his navel. »
- Celluloid Liberation Front
Directed by Sean Baker
Director Sean Baker (Starlet, Prince of Broadway, Take Out) was reportedly inspired to make Tangerine, after observing the customers of a donut shop in Hollywood’s red-light district. Tangerine’s stars are a pair of first-time actresses, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor. They play two trans sex workers – Sin-Dee, who’s just been released from a 28-day stint in prison for drug possession – and her best friend Alexandra who prepares for a gig singing at a local nightclub. The film follows the duo over the course of a day – opening on a donut shop which serves as one of the key locations the two transitioning male-to-female call girls hang out. It’s the morning of Christmas Eve at the sketchy intersection of Santa Monica and Highland in Los Angeles and Alexandra and Sin-Dee are sharing a red-and-green sprinkled donut. »
Read More: Sundance Review: 'Tangerine' is a Charming Buddy Comedy About Transgender Prostitutes in L.A. When "Tangerine" — the story of two transgender prostitutes over the course one chaotic day in Los Angeles — premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Mya Taylor was hardly a star. But anyone who saw "Tangerine" would agree that she was about to become one. In the movie, Taylor performs opposite longtime friend Kiki Rodriguez as the pair deal with maniacal clients, an aggressive pimp and police problems, while director Sean Baker ("Starlet," "Prince of Broadway") turns their odyssey into a disarming comedy (shot entirely on an iPhone). Taylor's boisterous personality isn't just the anchor of the movie; it spills off the screen. In the months after "Tangerine" first screened, Taylor has joined the ranks of "Orange is the New Black" breakout Laverne Cox in a steadily growing list of transgender actors to watch. »
- Eric Kohn
Our critic David Edelstein called the new film Tangerine "everything an entertaining, old-fashioned, mainstream Hollywood comedy should be but no longer is," and that rave is all the more remarkable being that Tangerine couldn't be more contemporary. Shot solely on an iPhone 5s (with a Steadicam and lenses employed to help give it a glossier look), Tangerine follows two trans sex workers in Los Angeles, Sin-Dee (Kitana "Kiki" Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor), whose sweet and modest birthday celebration at Donut Time kicks off a raucous mission of revenge after Sin-Dee finds out her boyfriend has been cheating. We talked to director Sean Baker — who previously made Take Out (about a Chinese takeout deliveryman) and the acclaimed Starlet — about how it all came together.Many people have focused on the actual technical approach to the film rather than the content itself. Do you find that people are more curious »
- Benjamin Lindsay
There is a great movie hitting theaters this summer that isn’t getting enough attention. It's a movie that I've already seen twice and is currently in my top three of the year. In fact, I'd be shocked if it didn't make the top ten when all is said and done. Frustratingly, whether it’s because of summer movie madness, pop culture news events such as Comic-Con sucking up all of the attention or a lack of star power the movie isn't getting the hype it deserves. Well, honey, we're gonna give it to you. A 24-hour comedy mostly set within a 10-block radius in Hollywood, Sean Baker's "Tangerine" pulses with an energy rarely seen in even independent cinema these days. The intoxicating adventure begins and ends with two best friends, Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor), two transgender sex workers living day by day with dreams of something more. »
- Gregory Ellwood
Sean Baker wills his films into the world. He fearlessly shot his new film "Tangerine" entirely on the iPhone 5s. It dazzled audiences and critics when it premiered at Sundance 2015 and is now being released theatrically. It looks great on the big screen and has energy and style to burn. Using the iPhone was the most affordable way to shoot Tangerine, and turned out to be the very best way to make it. Read More: How the Dp Behind Sundance Hit 'Tangerine' Created a Cinematic Look with an iPhone Baker shot his first feature "Four Letter Words" in 1996 and finally finished it in 2000. Made for $80,000 with 35mm short ends, it's the only movie he has done on film. In 2004, he shot "Take Out" on standard definition video for $3,000 and "finished it with favors." In 2008, he made "Prince of Broadway on HD" for $45,000. Then in 2012, he completed "Starlet," which »
- Peter Broderick
My original plan was to publish a list of my ten most anticipated films screening at the Fantasia Film Festival but considering the incredible line-up this year, I find it near impossible to narrow it down to only ten. So instead I’ve decided to select one movie a day, or better yet, the movie that you should choose if you only had time for one.
Day 1. Tangerine
Christmas Eve in Tinseltown!
If you’re not familiar with director Sean Baker start taking notes. The man is a genius and one of the best indie American filmmakers working today. In Starlet, Baker spun an unlikely friendship between a young porn actress and an old lady in the San Fernando Valley. In Prince of Broadway, he chronicled the struggles of a hustler balancing fatherhood while working in New York’s wholesale district. Baker’s work avoids labels by refusing to adhere »
It's Sean Baker Day at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Starting this afternoon, the Fslc will screen three of his features: Prince of Broadway (2008), Starlet (2012) and, in between, Baker's latest, Tangerine (2015). Baker's films "explode with so much vitality that they transcend the often-gloomy neorealist genre whose boundaries they push," suggests Stephen Holden in the New York Times. We're collecting reviews and interviews and we've got trailers for all three films. » - David Hudson »
Gridlocked and indifferently sprawling, Los Angeles is less known for motion than the sitting and waiting the city imposes on its residents. But high-heeled Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) — short for Sin-Dee Rella — doesn’t have the patience to stay put until her prince/pimp comes around. Newly released after a short prison stint, the transgender prostitute spends her Christmas Eve stomping all over Hollywood with her best friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor) in search of the man she loves and the “fish” (i.e., biological female) he’s been sleeping with. Director Sean Baker (“Starlet,” “Prince of Broadway,” “Take Out”) was reportedly inspired. »
- Inkoo Kang
Boulevard Ballads: Baker’s Enigmatic Journey into Hollywood’s Facade
For those familiar with the cinematic offerings of Sean Baker, it will come as no surprise that his latest feature, Tangerine, focuses on a group of people defined, in part, by a specific locale, but are generally invisible as cinematic subjects. Hardly banal or niche, his work avoids labels by refusing to adhere to them, rather focusing on the “regular people” (as those in this current title are also described) within the frame. Crackling with an infectious, garrulous energy, he deposits us in the captivating hands of two black, transgender hookers that journey back and forth from Sweetzer to Vermont Avenue along Santa Monica Boulevard over the period of one sun-soaked Los Angeles day. On paper, these labels sound crippling, but Baker is hardly a steward of melodrama, and transcends any and all assumptions with this title that recalls the »
- Nicholas Bell
For the New Inquiry, Brandon Harris reviews the current production in New York of Annie Baker’s Pulitzer-winning play The Flick, which "resembles the slow cinema of Chantal Akerman or Pedro Costa as much as it does a traditional theatrical experience." In July, Sean Baker will be in the city for screenings of Prince of Broadway, Starlet and Tangerine. Chicago is mounting a formal-wear screening of the rediscovered and restored Essanay production of Sherlock Holmes (1916). The Reader recommends Lisandro Alonso's Jauja. Plus, a special trailer for Gerald Kargl's Angst (1983), screening tonight and tomorrow in Los Angeles. » - David Hudson »
“Tangerine is the type of film that Sundance was created for,” wrote Dylan Griffin in his review from Sundance 2015. “It is bold, it is something that Hollywood would never make, it is a film liberated from formal limitations and it gives definition to the thrown-around term ‘independent.”
Not to be confused with the Oscar nominated foreign film Tangerines, Sean Baker’s film follows two transgender prostitutes, Sin-Dee (Kiki Katina Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor), who go around looking their pimp Chester after Sin-Dee learns that he has cheated on her with a white woman, or as it’s put so eloquently in the trailer: “Chester cheated on me with a real fish?” “Yeah, bitch, like a real fish, girl, like vagina and everything.”
Produced by The Duplass Brothers, Tangerine is the first ever film to be shot entirely on an iPhone, specifically an iPhone 5S (take that Samsung!). Surprisingly, it »
- Brian Welk
It’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee (newcomer Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend (James Ransone, Starlet, Generation Kill) hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra (newcomer Mya Taylor), embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor.
Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles, including an Armenian family dealing with their own repercussions of infidelity.
Director Sean Baker’s prior films (Starlet, Prince Of Broadway) brought rich texture and intimate detail to worlds seldom seen on film. Tangerine follows suit, bursting off the screen with energy and style. A decidedly modern Christmas tale told on the streets of L.A., Tangerine defies expectation at every turn.
- Michelle McCue
A red band trailer has arrived online for director Sean S. Baker’s festival favorite comedy drama Tangerine, which claims to be the first feature shot entirely on an iPhone 5 and follows two transgender prostitutes on Christmas Eve. Check it out below after the official synopsis…
It’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee (newcomer Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend (James Ransone, Starlet, “Generation Kill”) hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra (newcomer Mya Taylor), embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles, including an Armenian family dealing with their own repercussions of infidelity.
Tangerine is set for a limited release in the States on July 10th.
- Gary Collinson
"Out here, it's all about our hustle – and that's it." Here's the decidedly Nsfw redband trailer for the first feature film shot entirely on iPhone. Magnolia Pictures picked up Tangerine at Sundance, where the gritty pic had its world premiere in the Next section. The Mark and Jay Duplass produced the film from director Sean Baker (Starlet), who co-wrote it with Chris Bergoch. It stars newcomers Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor. It’s Christmas Eve in Hollywood, and… »
There are plenty of independent films that go on to be celebrated by audiences and critics alike, but the Sundance selected Tangerine is a true indie. The film was shot on an iPhone 5S using an $8 app called Filmic Pro and some prototype lenses from Moondog Labs, all with a very small budget. And the result is a unique, intimate, funny, touching and fantastic story of friendship between two transgender women (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor) as they parade around the city of Los Angeles, looking for one of their boyfriends who has supposedly been sleeping around. It's one to go out of your way to see. Watch! Here's the red band trailer for Sean Baker's Tangerine from Magnolia & Magnet: Tangerine is directed by Sean Baker (Starlet, Prince of Broadway), who co-wrote the script with Chris Bergoch. It's Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee (newcomer Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is back on the block. »
- Ethan Anderton
Filmmaker Sean Baker’s made a name for lo-fi, no-budget Diy films centering on those living on the margins without judgment and employing a lot of empathy. “Prince Of Broadway” focused on the lives of immigrants in America seeking ideals of family and love, while “Starlet” features the life of a porn actress who makes an unlikely friendship with an elderly lady. Baker has seemingly taken the same approach to his latest film, “Tangerine,” which made a big splash at Sundance earlier this year. For one, “Tangerine” was entirely shot on an iPhone, so clearly Baker’s keeping the Diy methodology alive. And on the heels of trans breakouts like “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox and Alexandra Billings from “Transparent,” Baker's film stars two actors who happen to be transgender prostitutes, but doesn’t really make a thing about it. “Like a shot of vitamin C or »
- Edward Davis
Micro-budget auteur Sean Baker ("Prince of Broadway," "Starlet") has been a festival fixture for a number of years now, but this year marked the first time that the Sundance Film Festival screened one of his projects. His third feature, "Tangerine," played in this year's Next section and emerged as one of the true breakouts of the event, earning distribution through Magnolia Pictures and rave reviews across the board: Indiewire's Eric Kohn called the film --which made headlines at Sundance for being shot entirely on an iPhone 5 by Baker's usual cinematographer Radium Cheung -- "wildly entertaining" in his A- review. Audiences will have the chance to see what all the fuss is about when Magnolia opens the comedy on July 10 in select theaters. For now, take a look at Magnolia's new poster for the film, exclusive to Indiewire. Read More: Sundance Review: 'Tangerine' is a Charming Buddy Comedy About Transgender Prostitutes in L. »
- Nigel M Smith
The latest film from director Paul Solet – whose previous films include the fantastic horror Grace - Dark Summer stars Peter Stormare (Fargo, 21 Jump Street, The Big Lebowsiki), Grace Phipps (Fright Night, The Vampire Diaries), Stella Maeve (Transamerica, Starlet), Keir Gilchrist (United States of Tara, Dead Silence) and Maestro Harrell (Ali, Suburgatory)
In Dark Summer 17 year old Daniel Austin is given house-arrest for the summer for obsessive online stalking of his classmate and crush Mona Wilson. When his mother goes away on a long business trip, Daniel is left alone, with no phone, no internet, and no Mona. A horrifying incident occurs leaving an ominous presence in the house…
Dark Summer will be released theatrically on March 20th, before being released digitally by Content Media on April 6th. Check out the trailer and poster below:
- Phil Wheat
Axes of Fulfillment: Williams Explores the Lives of Malcontented Young Adults
There’s a certain way to make multiple, intersecting storylines breathe life into a narrative structure, though it’s a rather abused formula of narrative free form often masking the lack of substance at hand. To be certain, director Ryan Piers Williams makes better use of this structure than a variety of recent examples, giving us a quiet, simplistic approach of four interrelated early thirtysomethings in Manhattan instead of bludgeoning with caustic twists a la Paul Haggis. If the material isn’t innately virginal, Williams takes some unexpected turns (not to mention the added attraction of having his wife, actress America Ferrera starring as one of the main characters). At the end of the day, some of their stories in X/Y are stronger than others, but even throughout the more familiar tics, it’s a well-acted quartet, divided »
- Nicholas Bell
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