This work analyzes Sean Baker’s filmmaking method, focusing on authorship and realism within the United States context. First, it places Sean Baker in the landscape of independent American cinema for a better understanding of the circumstances that led him to develop his methodology. This is done by researching historical movements that influenced the filmmaker’s work, realistic tendencies in contemporary independent American cinema, and finally problematics of labeling films that blur the line between documentary and fiction. The second part of this thesis is a case study that analyzes Sean Baker’s production practices, divided into three different segments: the story writing process, blurring the lines between documentary and fiction, and having active participation in the production of his films. Finally, it points out the importance of balancing creative and technical aspects when devising a realist filmmaking method within a commercially driven industry.