Continuing our coverage of Sean Baker’s fabulous new film, The Florida Project, we sat down with the co-writer and director to discuss the film and the amazing response it has garnered from critics and audiences across the globe thus far.

The film, about childhood and the adventures we go on at such a young age, is the backbone of the story and Baker says he and his co-writer couldn’t help but draw from their own experiences running around during their younger years, saying:

“Yeah very much so. I knew, in this case, that because there is this universal theme of childhood we’ve all experienced that we could pull from our own so my co-writer…and I took a little bit of our own childhood. There are scenes in there that I know my parents will remember but that’s the goal with this film – to have the audience be one of the little gang of friends that experience the summer with Moonee and go on mischievous adventures and antics with her so if that sends people back to the summer’s of their youth then that’s what we wanted to achieve with this film.”

As with his previous film, Tangerine, Baker has brought together an eclectic mix of talents in front of the camera, from the seasoned actors through the young and first-timers as well as those plucked from the streets whilst shooting. But somehow the collective works phenomenally well and the filmmaker says it makes the film work, saying:

“You never know if it’s going to work but when you are trying to pull from seasoned actors together with first-time actors and sometimes non-professionals pulled from the street. The first-timers I usually find them in different ways – we cast Bria off of Instagram, I found Valeria in Target and to mix this all up is very interesting because there’s a sort of alchemy that happens on-set, where the seasoned actors bring a formal way of working and the new ones, have naivety and their freshness and technique will rub off on everyone else and vice versa.”

The response to the film has had some amazing reviews and responses from all over the world, starting with Cannes earlier this year and through many other festivals but Baker thinks that it’s the universal themes of experiencing childhood that has helped touch people from different cultures and ways of life, saying:

“It’s really wonderful to see that it’s been warmly received all over the globe now. It just screened in Mumbai to very enthusiastic audiences and I think it’s about the fact that everyone has experienced childhood. They see themselves in this little group of friends and I think that that’s what is making these universal connections and why somebody on one side of the globe can connect with these characters who are across the world.”

You can watch our full interview below:

The Florida Project opens in UK cinemas on November 10th.