DIAGONALE (Austrian Film Festival, Graz) -- March 21-26, 2006

"Malibu Song"
2006, Digi-Beta, Color, 65 Minutes

Camera: Werner Hanak
Editor: Udo Schuetz
Sound Design: Thomas Kathriner
With: James Mathers, Norton Wisdom, Carole Winter, Herb Bermann, Larry Payne, Pablo Capra, John Overby.
Producer: eurotrashproductions
Grant provided by: City and State of Salzburg
Premiere screening: Diagonale 2006

Natalie Lettner:
Born 1965 in Salzburg. Studied Literature, Art History, and Theater. Working since 2000 at Vienna's Art History Museum.
(natalie.lettner@chello.at)

Werner Hanak:
Born 1969 in Salzburg. Working since 1994 as Curator at Vienna's Jewish Museum.
(werner.hanak@jmw.at)

Beginning of the 21st century: in an almost unspoiled environment near Malibu, California, a community of artists and non-professionals has been living for decades in makeshift buildings dating back to "hippie times." In 2002 the State of California bought Topanga Beach, a prime Malibu site and home of the artists, and is now forcing the inhabitants to surrender their homes and lifestyles – ironically for the creation of a new National Park. This film is their "Malibu Song" made from dissent and life utopias, which they are not prepared to relinquish.

California, beginning of the 21st century: an artists colony with hippie roots in Malibu by LA. The painter James Mathers sits in front of his Airstream trailer and sings the "Malibu Song": "A song for all the lazy poets," then say, "life was not given to us to be productive." Then he stands up and paints a picture.

The artists colony had until now successfully weathered the global neo-liberal storm: Norton Wisdom, both a performance artists and lifeguard in Malibu; Carole Winter, an incorrigible flower child; Herb Bermann, a one-time Rock poet who wrote songs for Captain Beefheart; Larry Payne, a master of 24-hour architecture; Pablo Capra, a young poet for whom his neighbors are fairytale heroes; and John "Baretta" Overby, a homeless man who wrote the "Malibu Song."

Many from the community considered it hopeless to fight a "good thing" like a National Park, and so they dispersed in all directions. Others like James Mathers are fighting for the preservation of this unique colony: "Will they ever get rid of us?"

A film about the end of a chapter of American cultural history that is on the other side of Arnold Schwartzenegger and George Bush: "Everything that's wrong with America is anti what this community is." (Natalie Lettner, Werner Hanak)

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