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Lee Daniels and Sean Baker Talk Prince Of Broadway: An Honest Indie Gem

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood August 28, 2010 at 1:00AM

Lee Daniels and Sean Baker talk to Sophia Savage about Baker's drama Prince of Broadway, which after lingering on the fest circuit, is finally hitting limited theaters September 3. Safe to say, Savage fell for this movie. So did Daniels.
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Lee Daniels and Sean Baker talk to Sophia Savage about Baker's drama Prince of Broadway, which after lingering on the fest circuit, is finally hitting limited theaters September 3. Safe to say, Savage fell for this movie. So did Daniels.

Lee Daniels knows the power of presenting. Oprah and Tyler Perry's endorsement of his film Precious brought the Oscar-nominated film (six, including wins for supporting actress Mo'Nique and screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher) the buzz it deserved. Now, Daniels is presenting Sean Baker's Prince of Broadway. Daniels first saw Baker's two features Take Out and Prince of Broadway as a judge at the Independent Spirit Awards (Prince of Broadway was nominated for the fest's John Cassavetes award) and fell in love with both of them. Daniels insists "Prince of Broadway is a film for everyone." Its power "goes deeper than the truth."

In the flip cam interview (below) they are meeting each other in person for the first time, as they talk about the phone call that began their partnership, discovering the perfect lead in Prince Adu, shooting guerilla-style and what Daniels believes to be "the truth and beauty" of the film. Trailers for Prince of Broadway and Take Out are also on the jump.

[Baker is pictured with young star Aiden Noesi, who plays "Prince"]

Prince of Broadway premiered at the LAFF in June 2008, where it won the Best Narrative Feature award. Grand Jury prizes at the Florida, Sacramento and Canary Island Film Festivals, a special Jury Mention award at the Locarno Film Festival and the Best New Filmmaker award at the Boulder Film Festival (to name a few) followed.

Sean Baker (a graduate of NYC film school) is a social-realist filmmaker and TV writer/director/producer (Greg the Bunny, MTV's Warren the Ape) who seeks "to find the truth in moments." Prince of Broadway boasts an abundance of them (many films struggle to find just one). It touches the most heartbreakingly relatable facets of the human condition in modern America; struggling for a taste of the quicksand American dream; discovering that family often means something other than what you thought it did; accepting that life may have no regard for what you have planned out for yourself.

Prince of Broadway throws us into the wholesale fashion district of of New York City, ripe with knock-off Louis Vuitton, Nikes, and the smooth-talking hustlers that sell them: Lucky is an illegal immigrant from Ghana whose life is thrown upside-down when ex-girlfriend Linda drops his alleged 18-month-old son in his arms...and bolts. What follows is a refreshingly raw story with mostly unknown non-actors improvising dialogue and behavior in each scene. With a budget of what Daniels puts at "two dollars," the film throws us head first into the world of knock-offs - one that most of us know nothing about - only to find ourselves skipping a beat and shedding a tear for celluloid human beings you'll swear are the most authentic you've seen in a long time.

Prince of Broadway opens in NYC (September 3rd), Los Angeles (September 24th) and Chicago (October 1st).

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

TRAILER: Prince of Broadway

TRAILER: Take Out

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Video, Interviews , Independents


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.