California Company Town (2008)




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California is a state with an economy that has experienced more than its share of peaks and valleys, and many businesses that have been lucrative have dried up seemingly overnight. What has become of the people who have been left behind when a branch of the California economy falls from the tree? Filmmaker Lee Anne Schmitt offers a glimpse of the wreckage left behind by irresponsible corporate practice in the documentary California Company Town. In the film, Schmitt and her camera crew visit a number of communities that were built to house the workers who manned businesses that eventually went bust -- factory towns, logging camps, farm labor camps, miner's villages, and even the internment camps that housed Asian-Americans during World War II. As a narrator explains the history of each town and what caused them to collapse and become abandoned, the images of decay and obsolescence tell their own story about the people who create these cities and the folks who once called them home. The first feature film from Lee Anne Schmitt, California Company Town was an official selection at the 2009 Rotterdam International Film Festival.
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for California Company Town

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (3)

[Director] Schmitt wisely allows the images to speak loudest -- a silent, sobering portrait of what happens after the well dries up.

Full Review… | July 23, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

Lee Anne Schmitt's simultaneously haunting and tiresome documentary is like a New Age western with its fond look backward and harsh criticism of the present.

July 22, 2009
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

The companies in Lee Anne Schmitt's elegy for California boom towns gone bust run the gamut from farming to logging to mining, but after a while, the towns themselves take on the same ghostly countenance.

Full Review… | July 21, 2009
Village Voice
Top Critic

A provocative, non-preachy, vital and illuminating documentary with quietly powerful and haunting images.

Full Review… | July 27, 2009
NYC Movie Guru

A brilliant, haunting and informative expose' not to be missed and not to be forgotten at awards season!

Full Review… | July 23, 2009
Sly Fox

A social and aesthetic document of promise betrayed.

Full Review… | July 19, 2009
Slant Magazine

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