Baker will direct the annual Dorothy H. Hirshon Film Festival organized by the School of Media Studies at The New School, host a film screening and discussion, and lead master classes for students at the New York City university

Award-winning filmmaker Sean Baker, director of the The Florida Project and Tangerine, has been named the 2018 Hirshon Director in Residence at The New School.

New York, March 12, 2018 — Award-winning filmmaker Sean Baker, director of the The Florida Project and Tangerine, has been named the 2018 Hirshon Director in Residence at the School of Media Studies at The New School.

Baker, who took editing courses at The New School in 2000, will serve as director of the School of Media Studies’ annual Dorothy H. Hirshon Film Festival and lead master classes in which he will share his filmmaking process with students on March 26 and 27. Additionally, he will host a public screening of The Florida Project and a discussion of his work on March 29. The master classes are:

  • Begging, Borrowing and Stealing - A detailed discussion on micro-budget filmmaking using examples from Baker's features. Baker will be joined by Shih-Ching Tsou, a New School alum who has produced most of Baker's films, in offering tips on how to produce a feature for as little money as possible. Students are encouraged to ask questions directly related to their own productions.
  • Location as Character - A talk on the importance of location, a driving force in the development process of Baker's films. Whether it is a doughnut shop in Tangerine or Rt. 192 in The Florida Project, the choice of location has dictated subject matter, budget and story structure in his films.

“Sean’s filmmaking approach resonates with our students and the type of filmmaking we foster at the School of Media Studies — work that is socially engaged and stylistically brave,” says Vladan Nikolic, dean of the School of Media Studies. “While Sean has recently received well-deserved mainstream acclaim, he has been active for two decades, exploring themes and characters we rarely see as a society, including the ‘hidden homeless’ in The Florida Project and transgender protagonists in Tangerine. He proves that you can make strong films with a unique vision without big budgets about people on the margins of society.”

After premiering at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, The Florida Project was nominated for Independent Spirit Awards for Best Feature and Best Director and a Gotham Award for Best Feature. Baker also was awarded Best Director of the Year by the New York Film Critics Circle.

"The New School holds a special place in my heart — It is where I studied non-linear editing which has had a profound effect on how I make films," Baker says. "I have always held The New School in high regard for its progressive thinking in the approach to education and the wealth of talent that I observed in the student body. I'm very much looking forward to being a Hirshon 2018 Director-in-Residence and speaking to the new generation of students about the future of film."

Baker’s previous film, Tangerine, premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. It was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards including Best Feature and Best Director, and four Gotham Awards, including Best Feature (it won the Audience Award). His directing credits include Take Out (2008) and Prince of Broadway (2009), which were both nominated for the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award, and Starlet (2012), which was the recipient of the Robert Altman Independent Spirit Award. Baker is also the co-creator of the long-running American comedy series Greg the Bunny.

Previous Hirshon Artists-in-Residence have included Laurie Anderson, James Cameron Mitchell, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Benth Zeitlin, Ramin Bahrani, and John Waters. 

Founded in 1919, The New School was born out of principles of academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. Committed to social engagement, The New School today remains in the vanguard of innovation in higher education, with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students challenging the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The New School welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and calendar of lectures, screenings, readings, and concerts. Through its online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.


79 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003


Media Contacts:

Scott Gargan,
The New School
212-229-5667 x 3794
[email protected]

Bookmark and Share