SXSW 2017 Filmmaker Profile: Mike Ott (California Dreams)


From Director Mike Ott (Lake Los Angeles, Actor Martinez) comes the new comedy documentary feature ‘California Dreams’, presenting five unique individuals in pursuit of a big life change.

With subjects including celebrity impersonators, aspiring writers, and a former nurse, this bitingly funny film reveals the strange and entrancing hypnotic grip that Hollywood has, in some way or form, on everyone.

‘California Dreams’ screens as part of SXSW 2017 Visions series on March 11, 14 & 17 at various venues around Austin, Texas, Find more information & tickets HERE


When did you first realize this was a topic you wants to present at the feature length level? What was the first aspect of what would become ‘California Dreams’ that occurred to you?
The film started out with the auditions of people coming in and doing a scene from their favorite film. From there we really didn’t know where it was going to go or what it was going to be.

Describe the visual strategy behind the film? How did your approach to the film’s photography develop over its production? Was there ever a moment of significant adjustment from your original vision?
I think when making a film you are adjusting constantly, so hard to pick a single moment. I think overall we were approaching the visual style with the hope to make it as confusing as possible.

With the film hitting SXSW, describe how you plan to further expand its accessibility to wide audiences?
The film is set to play a number of festivals and all you can do from there is hope that it’s seen and finds a good home outside of the festival circuit.

Can you talk a little about the design aspects of the film’s branding…for example, choice of font, color, and the development of its poster. How do you view the branding strategy of the film?
I’ve been designing all my film posters since Littlerock. They are all a mix of Saul Bass designs and an old punk aesthetic I grew up on. I usually design the poster after the film is complete and pick the colors and font and all that based on intuition.

Finally, if you could describe your film in one word, what would it be?


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