“We wanted to really see the story through the eyes of children,” reveals “The Florida Project” cinematographer Alexis Zabe during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above). Directed by Sean Baker (“Tangerine”), this A24 release centers on a precocious young girl named Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) as she goes on adventures with her friends and rebellious mother (Bria Vinaite) while living in a ramshackle budget motel outside of Disney World. Willem Dafoe costars as Bobby, the kindhearted and patriarchal motel manager.
“We kind of wanted to enhance reality a little bit,” adds Zabe. In his shots selections, the cameraman “focused on the colors, on the Florida landscape, on the funky kind of architecture” to create “this kind of reality that’s almost like an amusement park.” As well, “we also had usually a very low camera” to “stay at the height of children, and really seeing the world through their eyes.”
Zabe has twice won the Ariel Award – the Mexican equivalent to the Academy Award – for Best Cinematography: once for “Duck Season” (2004) and again for “Silent Light” (2007). He contended once more for his work on “Lake Tahoe” (2008). Could he compete at the Oscars for the first time? “The Florida Project” has already snagged three Gotham nominations (Best Feature, Best Actor for Dafoe, and Best Breakthrough Actor for Prince), so it’s possible.
Check out our full interview above for more about Zabe’s work.
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