The final installment of Mike Ott’s desert trilogy again shows America from a foreigner’s POV. Like thousands before him, Francesco left his family in Cuba to seek a better life in the US. He’s a day laborer, whose home serves as a way-stop for illegal immigrants. That’s how 10-year-old Cecilia, a silent girl with no guardian, finds her way to his abode. Thrown into a hostile world, the two tie the threads of friendship, though the director keeps things from being overly cinematically simple. The California landscape acts as one of the film’s leading characters thanks to the cool images by DOP Mike Gioulakis. Abandoned spaces that once strained to be luxury resorts only highlight Francisco and Cecilia’s alienation. Unlike in Ott’s other films, the struggle here is not for the plush American Dream, it is the struggle for survival.
Mike Ott graduated from the California Institute of the Arts. His second feature-length film, Littlerock, opened the Antelope Valley Trilogy and garnered a series of festival awards, including the Audience Award at the 2010 AFI Fest as well as the Independent Spirit Award in the Someone to Watch category. The second installment of the trilogy, Pearblossom Hwy, screened at Rotterdam IFF and Wrocław AFF. Ott currently teaches film directing at USC and was a guest of the 2013 American Film Festival. In 2013 participated in US in Progress program at the AFF.
2006 Analog Days
2011 Kid Icarus (doc.)
2012 Pearblossom Hwy
2014 Lake Los Angeles