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DocLab Live: Assorted Revolutions 19 Nov at 20:00

An evening about simmering revolutions, future revolutions and irreversible changes.

Industry Session: Creating Inclusive Realities 19 Nov at 10:00

Drawing hands-on inspiration from immersive storytelling to create more diverse and authentic stories.

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California is a Place

An expanding series of brief impressions of sometimes intriguing, sometimes alarming and always compelling stories the Golden State.

California Is a Place offers a look at California as part of an expanding series of brief impressions of people and places in the state. The subtitle of the project is Tales from the Golden State, and indeed, everything is bathed in golden light in the films and photo series by makers Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari. The stories themselves are less sunny, however.

Borderland shows how the endless war against drug smugglers along the U.S.-Mexican border has a disheartening effect on the locals. The “original scraper bike team” in Scrapertown seeks to flee the back streets of Oakland by means of decorated BMX bikes. And in Cannonball, a group of skaters has some illegal fun in the empty swimming pools of houses left unsold thanks to the recession. Elsewhere, Cooper and Canepari pick out the eccentric, artistic souls attracted to the state. Such as Matt McMullen, maker of expensive “real dolls”: sex dolls so realistic they are almost undistinguishable from the real thing. Or the unemployed car salesman Big Vinny, whose nickname comes from a starring role in a pizza ad.

The short, poetic, smoothly edited films allow the people of California to speak for themselves, while an intuitive flow of images illustrates their words. Brightly colored photo series show the same topics, often in a slightly different light. For IDFA DocLab, the project will be screened live as part of A Showcase by Zach Wise (NYTimes.com).

Project details

Year of development :2010
Created by:Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper

Available formats