Grew up on Hollywood blockbusters but don’t see myself making one: Sean Baker

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MUMBAI: Hollywood blockbusters have had tremendous influence on “The Florida Project” director Sean Baker while he was growing up but he does not see himself directing a mega budget spectacle drama.
Baker, known for his independent features such as “Starlet” and “Tangerine”, attended a special master class at the 20th edition of MAMI Mumbai Film Festival. The session was moderated by “Kapoor & Sons” helmer Shakun Batra.
Many famous indie names such as Taika Waititi and James Gunn have eventually moved to tentpole cinema and when asked whether it was a future that Baker also considered, the director said those were not the kind of films he wanted to make.
“I think I am already too old for that. It took me a long time to break in the industry and now I am at a place where I’m comfortable and happy to make my kind of films.
“I am very lucky that I am in a position where I have financiers coming my way, and it’s not a fight that it used to be. So, if I can continue on these lines and tell stories that are important and I think should be told, I will be happy,” he said.
However, that does not mean Baker is averse to watching Hollywood blockbusters. “I am a cinephile. I am a fan of all genres. I love going to watch these big Hollywood blockbusters. I am sure they have had a huge influence on me because I grew up with them but those are not the kind of films that I want to make or even be able to make,” he added.
All of Baker’s films have had a socially-relevant background but the treatment without being heavy-handed in their treatment and the director said he is “extremely conscious” about using humour to make a point.
“I feel humour is just a part of being humans. Humour is how we cope with problems in our life… My hope with all these films is that, though the social issues and local issues are there, the backbone is strong, but it’s about identifying and laughing with the characters.
“The feeling should be that you know them, are friends with them. So that at the end of the day when you go home, you’re inspired to learn more about the subject.”
Baker, 47, said bombarding the audience with “facts and statistics” is not his style.
“I don’t want to hit the audience on the head with statistics and facts. I’m only trying to give the audience a background information because you all have Google. You’ll do that after the movie but hopefully the movie inspires you to,” he said.
Keeping up with his pursuit to chronicle stories in a modest setting, Baker said he has already started to work on his next.
“It’s in the same budget, area is Florida but it is different… Well, I don’t want to give away too much because I’m still finding it now but we are dealing with the Opioid epidemic in North America. It’s my take on that. I’m going to be very critical of the US’ war on drugs,” he added. (AGENCIES)

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