California is a strong brand, the state of new beginnings, dreams and movie stars, of surfers and a wonderful climate. But the Golden State is bankrupt and the city of Los Angeles is running out of cash. Public services are being cut and unemployment keeps rising. At the same time, optimism, entrepreneurship and the belief in the power of America are stronger than ever.
In Los Angeles, we meet five people who are going through a transformation in their lives during this crisis. Justin and Christine lost their jobs and are now living in a van with their two young sons. Charles has gotten out of prison after fourteen years. Mizuko prepares her children for the future by making them at ease in virtual reality. Laura has taken advantage of the crisis by buying land cheaply and starting an urban farm and artists collective Fallen Fruit maps the abundant free ‘public fruit’ available in the city. Who are the pioneers who are reinventing the new America and how do they see the future?
Director: Bregtje van der Haak
Cinematography/Editing: Jean Counet
Sound: Joris van Ballegoijen
Research: Maren Merckx
Production: Mariska Schneider
Commissioning editors: Henneke Hagen/Jos de Putter
Broadcaster: VPRO Television/Backlight series
License: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
<span style="font-weight: bold;">About Backlight</span>
Backlight, VPRO‘s weekly, 50-minute, Future Affairs- program, balances on the edge of storytelling and journalism. It focuses on our globalized world in which societies, economies and cultures seek a new equilibrium. Backlight aims to grasp the quintessence of prominent trends and developments.
The series shifts between two modes of communication: it provides in-depth analysis of new developments by leading intellectuals, visionaries and mavericks – the architects of change. At the same time, it applies daring cinematic techniques, capturing the effects these changes have on the daily lives of the real world‘s citizens.
<span style="font-weight: bold;">About Bregtje van der Haak</span>
Bregtje van der Haak (1966) is a documentary filmmaker, journalist and writer on contemporary culture. She was acting as editor-in-chief of VPRO television in 2006/2007 and recently led Urban Century, a cross media project on urban life for radio, television, internet and print.
Van der Haak directed Satellite Queens (2007), a widely distributed feature documentary about a popular all women talk show on Arab satellite TV. Earlier, she made the interactive film and museum installation Lagos: Wide and Close (2004, Sao Paulo Biennial) and the documentary film Saudi Solutions (2006) about career women in Saudi Arabia. Van der Haak has been directing international long format documentaries on social, political and cultural issues since 1998, focusing on long term change, notably globalisation and its effects on individuals.
She studied dance in Paris, political science and law at the University of Amsterdam and the New School for Social Research in New York and received a M.S. of Science from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York. She was media Woman of the Year in 2006 and serves as a board member of the Prince Claus Fund and the Praemium Erasmianum.
<div class="clear-left" />