|Truly CA: Our State, Our Stories: "Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea" Press Release|
JOHN WATERS -- LEGENDARY COUNTERCULTURE FILMMAKER AND "KING OF TRASH" NARRATES "PLAGUES & PLEASURES ON THE SALTON SEA"
A New Documentary from Truly CA on KQED Public Television 9
Premieres Sunday, April 15 at 6pm during KQED Earth Week
April 11, 2007, San Francisco -- Narrated by cult-movie legend John Waters, Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea is an epic western tale of fantastic real estate ventures and failed boomtowns, inner-city gang flight to white small town America, and the notion of success & failure amidst the landscape of the American Dream. Already a hit at festivals across the USA and a winner of 28 Best Documentary Awards, the unconventional and often humorous Plagues and Pleasures premieres Sunday, April 15 at 6pm on KQED 9 to kick off KQED's Earth Week lineup of programming.
Once known as the "Riviera of the West", the Salton Sea is one of America's worst ecological disasters: a fetid, stagnant, salty lake, coughing up dead fish and birds by the thousands. Yet a few hardy eccentrics hang on to hope, including a man building a religious mountain out of mud and paint, beer-loving Hungarian Revolutionary Hunky Daddy, and the real-estate "Ronald McDonald" known simply as The Landman, who wants to return the sea to its 1950's glory. Through their perceptions and misperceptions, the strange history and unexpected beauty of the Salton Sea is revealed.
"Accidentally" created by an engineering error in 1905, reworked in the 50's as a world class vacation destination for the rich and famous, and then suddenly abandoned after a series of hurricanes, floods, and fish die-offs, the Salton Sea has a bittersweet past. Congressman Sonny Bono himself was once dedicated to saving the lake, until he went skiing one day.
Now among the ruins of this man-made mistake, a few people still struggle to keep a remodeled version of the dream alive. However, this most unique community is threatened by the nearby megalopolises of Los Angeles and San Diego, as they attempt to take the agricultural run-off that barely sustains the sea. The fate of this so-called ecological time bomb and the community that surrounds it remains uncertain, as the Salton Sea is in jeopardy of desiccation.
While Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea covers the economic, political, and environmental issues that face the sea, it more importantly offers up an offbeat portrait of the eccentric and individualistic people who populate its shores. Hair-raising and hilarious, part history lesson, part cautionary tale and part portrait of one of the strangest communities you've ever seen, this is the American Dream gone as stinky as a dead carp.
Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival and won both the HBO Producer's Award and the Robert Altman Award.
About the Filmmakers
CHRIS METZLER, CO-DIRECTOR After graduating from USC with a degree in business and cinema, Chris' film career has taken him from the depths of agency work, to coordinating post-production for awful American movies seen late at night in Belgium. His film directing and producing work has resulted in frequent partnerships with Jeff Springer, where together they've criss-crossed the country with the aid of caffeinated beverages and made their way in the Nashville country and Christian music video industries, before finally forsaking their souls to commercial LA rock n' roll. These misadventures eventually culminated in them winning a Billboard Magazine Music Video Award.
JEFF SPRINGER, CO-DIRECTOR Jeff Springer was born in a virtually abandoned town in the California desert, raised in Hawaii, and educated at USC Film School. After living for a winter in Russia, he returned to Los Angeles to begin directing music videos, shorts, and editing for UPN, Fox, Geffen Records, and Lucasfilm. Burned out and hung over, he eventually fled to San Francisco to start work on Plagues and Pleasures, while still driving to Los Angeles to edit WWF and Moesha promos to pay the bills.
About Truly CA
Truly CA is KQED's series of independent documentaries about life in the Golden State. It airs monthly on Sundays at 6pm on KQED 9. Truly CA is a KQED production presented in association with the Bay Area Video Coalition and Film Arts Foundation. Support for Truly CA is provided by The Campaign for the Future Program Venture Fund, by Ambassador James C. Hormel and Timothy C. Wu, The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, and the members of KQED.
About KQED Public Television
KQED Public Television 9 (www.kqed.org), a service of Northern California Public Broadcasting, Inc. (NCPB), is one of the nation's most-watched public television stations during primetime. KQED produces local weekly series in high definition and available on Comcast On Demand: The Josh Kornbluth Show; Quest; Spark; Check, Please! Bay Area and This Week in Northern California; and national series: Jacques Pepin: Fast Food My Way and Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures. KQED's digital television channels include KQED HD, KQED Encore, KQED World, KQED Life and KQED Kids, and are available 24/7 on Comcast. Download programs for viewing and video podcasts at www.kqed.org, featuring unique content on one of the most-visited station sites in public broadcasting.
The Bay Area Video Coalition is the nation's largest noncommercial media arts center dedicated to providing access to media, education and technology. BAVC is a production facility, an affordable training center, a pioneer in technology-based workforce development and a critical resource for independent filmmakers.
About Film Arts Foundation
Film Arts Foundation supports the creation and success of independent film and video makers by providing education, comprehensive information, state of the art facilities and equipment, financial support and exhibition opportunities. Film Arts Foundation is a catalyst and advocate for the diverse voices of the independent film community on the West Coast and nationally.