• Documentary
  • 1h 11m

UK Preview

In the Southern California desert lies a city that was never finished: California City was supposed to become as big as Los Angeles, but today it is unfinished and deserted. It is a place that reeks of failure. A place of shattered dreams, where people are stranded in search of a new and better life. It is home to Lashay, a young man who tries to avoid the disappointing, harsh reality by withdrawing completely into a fantasy world. Victoria was selected at the Berlin Film Festival with the award of the most innovative and inspiring movie in the Forum programme.

Victoria is a film evoking a wandering, in which elements of the real and the imagined are interwoven, and in which Lashay T. Warren – like a contemporary pioneer – draws up his own path and leaves behind his mark.

About sixty years ago, an eccentric developer created “California City” in the Mojave Desert. He had a dream wherein he would raise a city like Los Angeles from the desert sand. Thousands of streets with water and electric- ity infrastructure were carved into the landscape and each of them was given a name. The city was ready to welcome hundreds of thousands of residents, but the anticipated amount of arrivals to the city was never met. If you look up California City today, you’ll find a map filled with hundreds of kilometres of streets, neatly drawn up in a checkerboard pattern. That way it does look like the dreamt up city became reality. On that ground plan, California City effectively is the third largest city in California, about 650 square kilometres, larger than San Francisco. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll see something’s missing: houses. Today, California City is a sleepy desert town, inhabited by approximately 14.000 people, but scattered across a vast surface. The ‘city’ mainly exists of empty streets that lead nowhere, with a house here and there. After sixty years, the streets disintegrate into the desert. Water pipes start to leak everywhere at once or even burst open, leading to floods or causing geysers to break through the earth’s crust. Despite the fact that the original dream of the metropolis did not come true, new inhabitants still continue to make their way to California City in small numbers.

Festivals and Awards

Winner Caligari Film Award at Berlinale Forum 2020
Winner Jury Award at Docville 2020, Belgium
Winner TVCine Award at IndieLisboa 2020, Portugal

This film is available in the following bundles:
LFW20 - Festival Pass


Sofie Benoot

Director of Photography

Isabelle Tollenaere



Sound Recording

Liesbeth De Ceulaer

Sound Designer

Kwinten Van Laethem

Color Grading

Olivier Ogneux





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