How do you follow up a critically acclaimed, award-winning comedy-drama about two transgender prostitutes on the hunt for a cheating pimp? If you’re the virtuoso director Sean Baker, you stick to your gonzo ambitions — which include shooting on an iPhone and creating a diverse story full of nonprofessional actors — for a short film that speaks to that same extraordinary vision.
For his first project since “Tangerine” became the indie darling of last year, Baker has joined forces with the fashion label Kenzo for a gorgeous short film full of eye-opening production and set design. Starring model Abbey Lee of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the 11-minute short is a dreamy odyssey through Slab City, California, a desert campsite that Baker shoots as if it were on a foreign planet.
“I don’t see myself as a short-film director, and I’m not a commercial director,” Baker recently told The New York Times about the project. “But there was something about fashion films: Because there would be a narrative and because I would be able to experiment, it was so appealing. This was the first time I was actually excited by a project I was being commissioned for.”
Entitled “Snowbird,” the film also features former Warhol model Mary Woronov, “The Mob Squad” actor Clarence Williams III and a handful of Slab City’s real residents.
Baker’s “Tangerine” is up for four Independent Spirit Award nominations later this month, including Best Director and Best Feature. Watch the short film in its entirety above.