Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere, Belgium 2020, 71’
Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks For Me

California City is an unfinished municipality, a would-be metropolis—an idea that didn’t come to fruition. A network of streets was laid out in the desert, but it didn’t pull in the expected crowds. Today, decades later, a handful of people live in what is a vast area, including a young Black man, Lashay T. Warren, a newcomer from Los Angeles. This documentary is a record of his everyday life in this strange, spectral place full of empty space and geysers made of bursting pipes. With a turbulent past behind him, Warren is like a soul who has to work, study, and endure boredom in sunny purgatory until further notice. He prefers to see himself, however, as an heir to the American pioneers. Like them, he tries to make his own mark on the semi-wild territory: he names mountains and streets after himself and comes up with a special new name for the whole of Cal City.

Piotr Mirski


Berlin IFF 2020 – Caligari Film Award; IndieLisboa International Independent FF 2020 – TVCine Channels Special Award

Sofie Benoot

Born in Bruges in 1985, Sofie Benoot graduated from the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels with a major in documentary cinema. Her credits include three full-length films, the most recent of which is Victoria. In addition to making films, she also teaches at her alma mater.


2010 Blue Meridian (doc.)

2014 Desert Haze (doc.)

2020 Victoria (doc., co-dir.)

Liesbeth De Ceulaer

Born in 1985, Liesbeth De Ceulaer is a Belgian documentary filmmaker who is interested in showing the relationships between people and their surroundings. She made her film debut with Behind the Redwood Curtain, which is set in California’s Redwood National Park.


2008 The Best Act on the Isle (short)

2013 Behind the Redwood Curtain (doc.)

2020 Victoria (doc., co-dir.)

Isabelle Tollenaere

Born in 1984, Isabelle Tollenaere is a Belgian documentary filmmaker. She studied at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels. Her debut film, Battles, won a FIPRESCI award at the Rotterdam Festival.


2011 Viva Paradis (doc., short)

2015 Bitwy / Battles (doc.)

2018 The Remembered Film (short)

2020 Victoria (doc., co-dir.)

Cast & Crew

director Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere
screenplay Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere
cinematography Isabelle Tollenaere
editing Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere
music Lashay Warren, Annelies Van Dinter
producer Anda Ackx, Bo De Group, Bert Hamelinck, Frank Van Passel, Helena Vlogaert
production Bo De Group
sales Filmotor
language English
coloration colour
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