Call him the Cassavetes of the California desert. Regular fest guest Mike Ott has become known for his fascination with outsiders and the dreamlike qualities of the desolate crossroads and borderlands they inhabit, as well as for a vérité approach that itself crosses genres. It's all on display in California Dreams.
Following up on the provocative docufictional hit that was Actor Martinez (DFF39, co-directed by Nathan Silver, also back this year with Thirst Street), Ott set up auditions in small towns across Southern California to discover real people who, for various reasons, have never had the opportunity to pursue their dreams of silver-screen stardom. From Filipino immigrant Patrick Llugano to Dog the Bounty Hunter impersonator Kevin Gilger to Ott's quasi-muse Cory Zacharia (Littlerock, DFF33; Pearlblossom Hwy, DFF35), the lives they reveal in their own raw, awkward, comical and/or heartbreaking ways make for a study in pathos of a uniquely American kind: that of yearning for the love, glory and shot at immortality that only Hollywood can offer.
Producer: Nicole Arbusto, Heika Burnison, Alex Gioulakis | Editor: Adam Ginsberg, Joe Hernandez | Cinematographer: Mike Gioulakis | Screenwriter: Mike Ott
Cast: Cory Zacharia, Mark Borchardt, Henning Gronkowski, Kevin Gilger, Patrick Llaguno