Gianfranco Rosi • Italy • 2008 • A portrait of California flatland squatters
Roughly 200 miles southeast of Los Angeles, in the wild desert of Southern California, is an ad hoc town without electricity or running water. Some denizens are just passing through, others are here to stay. While disparate circumstances have brought them here, all have turned their backs on society, wishing only to be left alone.
Filmed over the course of five years, Below Sea Level offers a glimpse inside a ragtag colony of flatland squatters. Gianfranco Rosi's second documentary premiered at IDFA; Cinéma du Réel, where it won Best Film; and Venice , where it won Best Documentary in Orizzonti.