A24 has picked up U.S. distribution rights to Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project,” Variety reports. The “Tangerine” filmmaker’s followup to his lauded breakout project premiered in the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight section last week.
The outlet reports that “it was one of the few projects that resulted in interest from multiple bidders. Amazon Studios, Neon and Annapurna are circled the project this week, but dropped out after bidding on the micro-indie passed $1 million.”
When we spoke to Baker last year for an exclusive first look at the project, the filmmaker clarified the meaning of the film’s title, as our Chris O’Falt explained, “The film is not, as many believed, Sean Baker’s ‘Untitled Florida Project.’ The official title is ‘The Florida Project,’ and it refers to Florida’s Disney World. When Disney first started buying up land and planning Disney World, they referred to it as ‘The Florida Project.’”
The feature is billed as “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.”
In our A- review of the film, Eric Kohn wrote, “Above all, the movie suggests that the magical nature of childhood can make do with even the most uncomfortable circumstances. Despite the undercurrent of tragedy, Baker empathizes with Moonee’s ability to seek a life she can maintain on her own terms,” adding that “‘The Florida Project’ further cements Baker’s status as one of the most innovative American directors working today, but he’s also an essential advocate for the stories this country often doesn’t get to see.”
The film marks A24’s first purchase at the festival, though the company launched four titles at this year’s Cannes, including Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” and the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time.”
Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales for the film.