Go backBack to selection

Watch: Sean Baker’s Palme d’Or Acceptance Speech for Anora


American independent filmmaker Sean Baker was, for us at Filmmaker, the thrilling winner of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or for his forthcoming NEON release, Anora, a comedy about a sex worker, played by Mickey Madison, and her relationship with a Russian oligarch’s son. “This literally has been my singular goal as a filmmaker for the past 30 years,” Baker said on accepting the award from the Greta Gerwig-led jury, “so I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. But I do know that I will continue to fight for cinema because right now as filmmakers, we have to fight to keep cinema alive. This means making feature films intended for theatrical exhibition.”

He also took aim at the “distracted viewing” philosophy of streamers today with their output of shows demanding minimal attention, designed as they are to be watched while doing other things. “The world has to be reminded that watching a film at home while scrolling through your phone while checking emails and half paying attention is just not the way — although some tech companies would like us to think so… I see the future of cinema as where is started: in a movie theater.”

Baker’s first Cannes feature was The Florida Project, which premiered in Directors Fortnight in 2017. It was the cover interview of Filmmaker‘s 25th anniversary issue, but Baker appeared in our pages earlier, with his 2012 drama, Starlet. Our interview begins with his filmmaking origin story — his childhood watching movies and then early work like his $45,000 feature Four-Letter Words and his Greg the Bunny TV show before he began working in the neo-realist-inflected style he’s become best known for. We’ve also interviewed Baker about Tangerine and Red Rocket. 

Check out Baker’s acceptance speech below, and look out for Blake Williams’s Cannes wrap shortly.

© 2024 Filmmaker Magazine. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of The Gotham