With the development and widespread access to new technologies the price of making a film has rapidly dipped. No longer do you need reels of film, a huge crew and a long post-production process. Under house arrest and banned from making films, Jafar Panahi got creative and used an iPhone to make This is Not a Film. However, it’s an option some directors are looking at to reduce costs. Sean Baker uses it brilliantly in Tangerine and it had the added bonus of putting the largely first-time stars at ease.
It’s Christmas Eve and Sin-Dee-Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) has just got out of prison. After hooking-up with her best friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor) she discovers that her pimp/boyfriend Chester (James Ransone) has cheated on her whilst she was inside. Sin-Dee-Rella sets about finding that ‘white bitch’ Dinah (Mickey O’Hagan) with Alexandra reluctantly in tow. As they trawl the streets of LA, theses two transgender sex workers encounter a variety of city dwellers, johns and randoms.
Tangerine is a colourful, vibrant and ingenious film which proves that low-budget doesn’t have to look cheap. Filmed in brilliant colours, the driving force behind the film is the relentless Kita Kiki Rodriguez. She’s a force of nature and helps to make it one of the most invigorating films of the year. Part comedy, part drama, it does have serious undertones. It looks at the effect the industry has on families and the issues the trans community face on a daily basis.
Tangerine is out in cinemas on Friday.