VICTORIA

71', color, 16:9, surround 5.1, English, BE, 2020

directed and edited by Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere

starring Lashay T. Warren

photography Isabelle Tollenaere

sound recording Liesbeth De Ceulaer

sound design Kwinten Van Laethem

produced by Caviar

with the support of The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Canvas, Belgian Tax Shelter

Victoria was pitched at Visions du Réel, Nyon (CH) - Selection Pitching du Réel  2014 and at Camden FF (US) – Selection Points North Fellowship 2016

VICTORIA

71', color, 16:9, surround 5.1, English, BE, 2020

directed and edited by Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere

starring Lashay T. Warren

photography Isabelle Tollenaere

sound recording Liesbeth De Ceulaer

sound design Kwinten Van Laethem

produced by Caviar

with the support of The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Canvas, Belgian Tax Shelter

Victoria was pitched at Visions du Réel, Nyon (CH) - Selection Pitching du Réel  2014 and at Camden FF (US) – Selection Points North Fellowship 2016

In the desert of Southern California, lies the unfinished city of California City. A predesigned city, originally intended to mirror LA in size and population, but it was never completed. Lashay T. Warren, left behind his turbulent past in LA to make a fresh start within this grid of thousands of crumbling streets.

Lashay willfully makes his way through the vast city on foot, he takes shortcuts across the empty lots and trespasses through the golf course. He reports about his encounters with his new and unfamiliar home in a diary, just like the early pioneers did, when they entered a foreign desert country.

'If I keep things in motion, everything will be alright, everything in life will be straighter', writes Lashay in his diary. His walks become less purposeful, merely guided by curiosity, the stimuli of the landscape and the rhythm of his footsteps. VICTORIA is a film evoking a wandering, in which Lashay, like a contemporary pioneer, draws up his own path and leaves behind his mark.

PUBLICATIONS

Article in BusinessDocEurope

Article in KnackFocus

Review in Cineuropa

Interview with Cineuropa

Article in Filmdienst

Article in Vertigo

Interview with Filmmagie

Interview with Knack Focus

Essay by Jordan Rowe

Review in Humo

Interview and review in De Standaard

Review in De Morgen

Review in Knack Focus

Interview with Cinevox

Interview with Bruzz

Interview with Klara

Interview with Radio 1

interview with Sabzian

Review in Rekto Verso

“Documentaries tend to capture a certain reality. With VICTORIA by Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth de Ceulaer and Isabelle Tollenaere, it’s different. There’s more. There’s dreams, thoughts, stories, and fantasies, there’s an exploration of an imaginary space: a turtle race, the beauty of water fountains in a dry land, black holes that lead to other galaxies, a past that may be somewhat shady, a future that might hold a promise. The film captures the everyday comings and goings of Lashay T. Warren, a young Black man from Los Angeles who has moved to California City, a huge, albeit decrepit place in the desert. At the same time, it immerses into Lashay’s ideas, dreams and reflections, renders them palpable, sharing authorship with him. While moving through the arid scenery, the film evokes the history of the European settlers in America in a casual manner, and it also alludes to film history with all its quests for a better life and its frontier mythology – and again, it does so in a very subtle fashion. The result is a rich and multilayered film, a perfect blend of humbleness, complexity and beauty.” 

(jury statement Indie Lisboa 2020)

VICTORIA

71', color, 16:9, surround 5.1, English, BE, 2020

directed and edited by Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere

starring Lashay T. Warren

photography Isabelle Tollenaere

sound recording Liesbeth De Ceulaer

sound design Kwinten Van Laethem

produced by Caviar

with the support of The Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Canvas, Belgian Tax Shelter

Victoria was pitched at Visions du Réel, Nyon (CH) - Selection Pitching du Réel  2014 and at Camden FF (US) – Selection Points North Fellowship 2016

In the desert of Southern California, lies the unfinished city of California City. A predesigned city, originally intended to mirror LA in size and population, but it was never completed. Lashay T. Warren, left behind his turbulent past in LA to make a fresh start within this grid of thousands of crumbling streets.

Lashay willfully makes his way through the vast city on foot, he takes shortcuts across the empty lots and trespasses through the golf course. He reports about his encounters with his new and unfamiliar home in a diary, just like the early pioneers did, when they entered a foreign desert country.

'If I keep things in motion, everything will be alright, everything in life will be straighter', writes Lashay in his diary. His walks become less purposeful, merely guided by curiosity, the stimuli of the landscape and the rhythm of his footsteps. VICTORIA is a film evoking a wandering, in which Lashay, like a contemporary pioneer, draws up his own path and leaves behind his mark.

SCREENINGS

2020 Berlinale Forum (DE) - Caligari Film Prize

2020 IndieLisboa (PT) - Special Jury Award

2020 Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival (RS) -  Special Jury Mention

2020 Open City Documentary Film Festival (UK) - Open City Award

2020 Play Doc (ES) - Best Play-Doc Picture

2020 Docville (BE) - Best Belgian Documentary

2020 Olhar De Cinema (BR) - Special Jury Prize

2020 Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (NL)

2020 Bozar (BE)

2020 New Horizons, American Film Festival (PL)

2020 Festival International Jean Rouch (FR) - Anthropology & Environment Award

2020 Transit Filmfest (DE)

2020 Kasseler Dokfest (DE)

2020 Entrevues Belfort (FR)

2020 Pravo Ljudski Film Festival (BA)

2020 L'Alternativa Barcelona (ES)

2020 London Film Week (UK)

2021 Arica Doc (CHI)

2021 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (USA) – Artistic Vision Award

2021 Miradas Doc (ES)

2021 De Cinema (BE)

2021 Ficunam (MX)

2021 Ethnocineca (AT)

2021 Nanagei Cinema, Osaka (JP)

2021 Women Film Festival Dortmund/Cologne (DE)

2021 San Fransisco Documentary Film Festival (USA)

2021 Kaleidoskop (AT)

2021 Haus der Kulturen der Welt (DE)

2021 Edoc Festival (EC)

2021 Caligari Film Award Tour (DE)

2021 Cinemancia Festival Metropolitano de Cine (CO)

2021 West Lake IDFF (CN)

2021 Tacoma IFF (USA)

2021 Cine Migrante (AR)

2021 Amerta FF (TR)

PUBLICATIONS

Article in BusinessDocEurope

Article in KnackFocus

Review in Cineuropa

Interview with Cineuropa

Article in Filmdienst

Article in Vertigo

Interview with Filmmagie

Interview with Knack Focus

Essay by Jordan Rowe

Review in Humo

Interview and review in De Standaard

Review in De Morgen

Review in Knack Focus

Interview with Cinevox

Interview with Bruzz

Interview with Klara

Interview with Radio 1

interview with Sabzian

Review in Rekto Verso

Review in Bright Lights Film Journal

“Documentaries tend to capture a certain reality. With VICTORIA by Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth de Ceulaer and Isabelle Tollenaere, it’s different. There’s more. There’s dreams, thoughts, stories, and fantasies, there’s an exploration of an imaginary space: a turtle race, the beauty of water fountains in a dry land, black holes that lead to other galaxies, a past that may be somewhat shady, a future that might hold a promise. The film captures the everyday comings and goings of Lashay T. Warren, a young Black man from Los Angeles who has moved to California City, a huge, albeit decrepit place in the desert. At the same time, it immerses into Lashay’s ideas, dreams and reflections, renders them palpable, sharing authorship with him. While moving through the arid scenery, the film evokes the history of the European settlers in America in a casual manner, and it also alludes to film history with all its quests for a better life and its frontier mythology – and again, it does so in a very subtle fashion. The result is a rich and multilayered film, a perfect blend of humbleness, complexity and beauty.” 

(jury statement Indie Lisboa 2020)

SCREENINGS

2020 Berlinale Forum (DE) - Caligari Film Prize

2020 IndieLisboa (PT) - Special Jury Award

2020 Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival (RS) -  Special Jury Mention

2020 Open City Documentary Film Festival (UK) - Open City Award

2020 Play Doc (ES) - Best Play-Doc Picture

2020 Docville (BE) - Best Belgian Documentary

2020 Olhar De Cinema (BR) - Special Jury Prize

2020 Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (NL)

2020 Bozar (BE)

2020 New Horizons, American Film Festival (PL)

2020 Festival International Jean Rouch (FR) - Anthropology & Environment Award

2020 Transit Filmfest (DE)

2020 Kasseler Dokfest (DE)

2020 Entrevues Belfort (FR)

2020 Pravo Ljudski Film Festival (BA)

2020 L'Alternativa Barcelona (ES)

2020 London Film Week (UK)

2021 Arica Doc (CHI)

2021 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (USA) – Artistic Vision Award

2021 Miradas Doc (ES)

2021 De Cinema (BE)

2021 Ficunam (MX)

2021 Ethnocineca (AT)

2021 Nanagei Cinema, Osaka (JP)

2021 Women Film Festival Dortmund/Cologne (DE)

2021 San Fransisco Documentary Film Festival (USA)

2021 Kaleidoskop (AT)

2021 Haus der Kulturen der Welt (DE)

2021 Edoc Festival (EC)

2021 Caligari Film Award Tour (DE)

2021 Cinemancia Festival Metropolitano de Cine (CO)

2021 West Lake IDFF (CN)

2021 Tacoma IFF (USA)

2021 Cine Migrante (AR)

2021 Amerta FF (TR)

PUBLICATIONS

Article in BusinessDocEurope

Article in KnackFocus

Review in Cineuropa

Interview with Cineuropa

Article in Filmdienst

Article in Vertigo

Interview with Filmmagie

Interview with Knack Focus

Essay by Jordan Rowe

Review in Humo

Interview and review in De Standaard

Review in De Morgen

Review in Knack Focus

Interview with Cinevox

Interview with Bruzz

Interview with Klara

Interview with Radio 1

interview with Sabzian

Review in Rekto Verso

Review in Bright Lights Film Journal

“Documentaries tend to capture a certain reality. With VICTORIA by Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth de Ceulaer and Isabelle Tollenaere, it’s different. There’s more. There’s dreams, thoughts, stories, and fantasies, there’s an exploration of an imaginary space: a turtle race, the beauty of water fountains in a dry land, black holes that lead to other galaxies, a past that may be somewhat shady, a future that might hold a promise. The film captures the everyday comings and goings of Lashay T. Warren, a young Black man from Los Angeles who has moved to California City, a huge, albeit decrepit place in the desert. At the same time, it immerses into Lashay’s ideas, dreams and reflections, renders them palpable, sharing authorship with him. While moving through the arid scenery, the film evokes the history of the European settlers in America in a casual manner, and it also alludes to film history with all its quests for a better life and its frontier mythology – and again, it does so in a very subtle fashion. The result is a rich and multilayered film, a perfect blend of humbleness, complexity and beauty.” 

(jury statement Indie Lisboa 2020)

PUBLICATIONS

Article in BusinessDocEurope

Article in KnackFocus

Review in Cineuropa

Interview with Cineuropa

Article in Filmdienst

Article in Vertigo

Interview with Filmmagie

Interview with Knack Focus

Essay by Jordan Rowe

Review in Humo

Interview and review in De Standaard

Review in De Morgen

Review in Knack Focus

Interview with Cinevox

Interview with Bruzz

Interview with Klara

Interview with Radio 1

interview with Sabzian

Review in Rekto Verso