Home ent label Indie Rights are releasing somewhat a "companion piece' to the award-winning THE BIG SHORT titled CALIFORNIA WINTER. Like Adam McKay's expose into the financially-fracked, this one - from filmmaker Odin Ozdil - also features a large ensemble cast of familiar faces (including Gina Rodriguez, Michael Ironside, Rutina Wesley, A Martinez and Elizabeth Dominguez). The story too, fixing on the housing crisis of a few years back, is not dissimilar. But what is different about this one is that the movie is seen through the eyes of 'the people' as opposed to the suits. Therefore it might be easier to relate to.
The trailer suggests as much..
...and the poster, with it's various, distressed array of floating heads of blue collar types, drives that assumption home.
The film is set at the "height of the housing boom of 2005, Mexican-American, Clara Morales is a real estate agent full of ambition, building a career by enticing Latino clients to take out subprime loans that she doesn’t understand. She even convinces her cautious father, Papi, to refinance the family home to pay for her mother’s medical bills. When the 2008 crash hits, Papi, now grieving the death of his wife, is devastated when his home goes into foreclosure – and he holds Clara responsible. As he lets his own health slide, Clara must now fight to prove herself to him by saving her childhood home and winning back the trust of her community. At the same time, she must outwit a devious coworker to hold onto her job at her a downsizing workplace.
One positive aspect to her life is a burgeoning romance with her bank representative, another first-generation Mexican named Carlos. However, with her father’s eviction date around the corner, Clara makes a reckless play to acquire a new client in the hope of paying off Papi’s home. This backfires and she loses her job and her new romantic relationship becomes even more complicated. Saving the home now seems more impossible than ever. Under these circumstances, all the experiences common to being a 20-something are exponentially more difficult for Clara. Anxiety becomes the new norm.
Ultimately, Clara and her father realize that although they have made some bad decisions along the way, they need to make peace and put the past behind them, and they enact a final and desperate plan to save their home and face off against the local sheriff. A timely, heartfelt story about realizing how personal choices and family can be stronger than any force working against you."
In a statement issued to press, director Ozdil says that was directly exposed to the housing crisis and that's why he put pen to paper on making a film about it.
"My first direct exposure to the housing crisis was in early 2009, when I worked as a cameraman on a documentary about Latino families in foreclosure. Witnessing people’s bafflement, panic and grief in the face of losing their homes had a powerful effect on me. The emotional fallout from the crash became the lens through which I viewed events as they unfolded, and it was this that inspired me to write the script. I strongly felt that in the media, the human stories of ordinary people’s loss were overshadowed by a focus on the big business machinations that caused the crash."
California Winter is now on VOD via Amazon Prime.