Christopher Rivera, Brooklynn Prince and Valeria Cotto star in The Florida Project, presented by Okanagan Screen Arts Society at Vernon Towne Cinema April 16. (A24 image)

Little film, big message

Okanagan Screen Arts Society presents A24’s The Florida Project April 16 at the Vernon Towne Cinema

Special to The Morning Star

The Okanagan Screen Arts Society presents The Florida Project at the Vernon Towne Cinema April 16.

The Florida Project, a 2017 film directed by Sean Baker, was chosen as one of the top 10 films of the year, starring Willem Dafoe, Best Supporting Actor winner, giving one of his finest performances to date.

This is a second acting role for seven-year-old Brooklyn Prince, who also gives a stellar performance as Moonee. If nominated for Best Supporting Actress, she will make history as the youngest nominee in Academy Awards history.

The film was a first time acting role for many of the leading child stars, which gives the film a very natural and innocently mischievous quality in this charming and emotional script. Bria Vinaite, who plays Moonee’s mother, Halley, gives a fresh and feisty performance despite having no previous acting experience.

Set over the summer, six-year-old Moonee lives with her mother in the Magic Castle Motel close to Disney World. With mom struggling to make ends meet, Moonee is oblivious to their poverty and their inaccessibility to the fantasy land just next door.

Moonee and her friends, also residents of the motel, spend their time using their imagination to shield them from the harsh realities of life while being involved in some delinquent, but entertaining, behaviors with Dafoe playing Bobby, the gruff but caring and protective motel manager.

While subtly going back and forth between child and adult character perspectives, this film captures a sense of discovering life as seen through the children’s eyes, giving a mystical yet realistic view of survival in working-class America. This is a bittersweet adventure story chronicling the carefree innocence of childhood.

Deriving its name from the early name for Walt Disney World and set on a stretch of Route 192 going through Kissimmee, Florida, the Florida Project was shot with 35mm film and an iPhone with the end product being a beautifully done movie with exceptional cinematography.

With Prince being scouted out at a casting call, her co-star, Valerie Cotto (Jancey) being spotted in a Target store and 24-year-old Vinaite being discovered via her Instagram account, this is not the typical Hollywood character story and is thought to be a true Oscar contender.

The Florida Project screens at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. A cash wine bar is on site. Pre-show intro by resident filmmaker Matt McDowell. Enjoy live music in the lobby before the early show courtesy of Les Copeland. Advance tickets available at The Bean Scene Coffee House or Vernon Towne Cinema box office. Tickets are $6 for members, $8 for non-members.


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