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Sean Baker’s ‘The Florida Project’ Lands at A24 (EXCLUSIVE)

A24 has bought U.S. distribution rights to Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project,” Variety has learned.

The movie about a homeless family in the Sunshine State premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight. Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (“Platoon”) stars alongside Caleb Landry Jones (“X-Men: First Class”), and newcomers Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite. Baker co-wrote the picture with Chris Bergoch.

The film enjoyed strong reviews, which sparked interest from multiple bidders. Amazon Studios, Neon, and Annapurna circled the project this week, but some players dropped out after bidding on the micro-indie passed $1 million.

In a favorable notice, Variety’s Owen Gleiberman wrote that Baker’s “follow-up to ‘Tangerine’ is another vibrant tale of the American lower depths, this one rooted in the magic and heartbreak of childhood.”

Baker’s last film, “Tangerine,” was a critic’s darling that was shot on an iPhone. It was only a modest box officer performer, however, grossing $702,354 domestically.

A24 has built a brand for itself by distributing edgier, artier fare. It won a best picture Oscar for “Moonlight” and has released the likes of “20th Century Women,” “Ex Machina,” “The Witch,” and “Room.”

ICM repped the domestic distribution rights with WME and CAA. Protagonist Pictures is handling international rights.

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