King of California

Director: Mike Cahill
Screenwriters: Mike Cahill

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


King of California is a cinematic voyage through the landscape of a contemporary southern California community shaped by one unconventional man's quest. Writer/director Mike Cahill's debut feature, squired by producers Alexander Payne and Michael London, among others, recounts the story of a teenage girl, Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood), and her mentally dysfunctional father, Charlie (Michael Douglas), a man who has spent his life pursuing his passions and has just returned home after a two-year hiatus in a mental institution. Miranda, struggling to stay afloat in her rapidly enlarging community, is swept up, albeit reluctantly, in her dad's latest madness, a search for gold left behind by Spanish missionaries.

With an energy that both disarms and delights, Cahill transforms the stereotypical image of the California eccentric and the even-more-familiar tale of pursuing your dreams into a dramatically powerful and imaginative fable that explores both the difficulties of a father/daughter relationship and the excesses of people and societies run amok.

Directed with a restraint and sensibility that belie Cahill's inexperience and displaying a classical sense of craftsmanship throughout its many twists and turns, King of California is a flight into a realm of inspiration and delusion that offers viewers an engaging and uplifting respite from the burdens of life.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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