First there came the land and the sea. Then the Chumash. Then the Spanish arrived, followed by the English. Then the Russians, after which the Spanish returned with the Franciscan Missions. This time the Chumash died. Then came the Mexican ‘Californios’, followed by the White settlers, followed by the Gold Rush, and finally, U.S. Statehood, with its own, unique constitution.
The late Alexander Von Wetter originally made this film for license to German Television in the 1980s. The camera masters and 16mm negative were consequently lost to a devastating fire. Luckily, a lone VHS copy had been made, which spent the next 30 years on the studio shelf. When we discovered the actual VHS it was heavily damaged, but our restoration team in New York managed to salvage a fair grade of quality, which has since been recently remastered.
Although picture condition is not perfect, the story content is exceptional. To our knowledge, no one has ever attempted to make a film about California from a nativist point of view, and certainly none as detailed and unique as ‘THE CALIFORNIANS’.
This ground-breaking work was created by an award-winning documentary filmmaker of Estonian descent who lived his life in Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles. Alexander (Sasha) Von Wetter was a true Californian.
"The Californians" DVD (56 minutes) for Academic Release $250 Rights include classroom screening and closed-campus streaming.
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