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Exclusive: 23-Minute MoMA Talk With Sean Baker, Mya Taylor, And More About ‘Tangerine’

Exclusive: 23-Minute MoMA Talk With Sean Baker, Mya Taylor, And More About 'Tangerine'

Sean Baker’s audacious farce following a day in the life of two trans girls working the streets of downtown Los Angeles is infinitely re-watchable, and required viewing if you somehow missed it in 2015. Baker earned major points for casting ACTUAL trans women in the lead, and it paid off. Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriquez saturate the film in such authentic flavor, it’s enough to make one swear off professional actors altogether.

Shot entirely on iPhone (with the help of an anamorphic adapter), “Tangerine” made waves when it premiered at Sundance in 2015. It looks great — but it’s the raw intimacy Baker captured on camera that made “Tangerine” an instant queer classic.


When “Tangerine” first arrived at Sundance earlier this year, it almost sounded like a cliché: a low-budget, iPhone-shot dramedy set in California. But the film was so much more: a progressive story with transgender character for leads, in the most unlikely Christmas movie ever. And it speaks to how much the film has resonated that nearly a full year later, not only has made many top-10 lists, but it’s very much in the awards-season conversation. 

READ MORE: Sundance Review: ‘Tangerine’ Is A Fresh, Funny, And Original Stream of Pure Energy

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to “Tangerine,” and as part of MoMA Film’s Contenders series, writer-director Sean Baker, actress Mya Taylor, and producers Darren Dean and Shih-Ching Tsou, sat down for Q&A moderated by filmmaker Ira Sachs. And it’s definitely one to dive into as the discussion explores the genesis of the film (which originated from Baker’s desire to tell a story that concluded with a confrontation at Donut Time), Taylor’s experience working on her first major movie, and more.

“For this Contenders screening at MoMA we partnered with Ira Sachs, and it was fascinating to see this established filmmaker engaging with the ‘Tangerine’ team on queer filmmaking and the cinema of means,” Rajendra Roy, Chief Film Curator at MoMA, said. “The conversation delves into how they took a raw passion project about an under-served, under-seen community and transformed it into this bracing, brilliant story — which has gone onto to become a global phenomenon and an undisputed awards contender.”

Check out the talk below. MoMA Film’s Contenders series continues through January 15, 2016.

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