Synopsis by Mark Deming
California is a state with an economy that has experienced more than its share of peaks and valleys, and many businesses that have been lucrative have dried up seemingly overnight. What has become of the people who have been left behind when a branch of the California economy falls from the tree? Filmmaker Lee Anne Schmitt offers a glimpse of the wreckage left behind by irresponsible corporate practice in the documentary California Company Town. In the film, Schmitt and her camera crew visit a number of communities that were built to house the workers who manned businesses that eventually went bust -- factory towns, logging camps, farm labor camps, miner's villages, and even the internment camps that housed Asian-Americans during World War II. As a narrator explains the history of each town and what caused them to collapse and become abandoned, the images of decay and obsolescence tell their own story about the people who create these cities and the folks who once called them home. The first feature film from Lee Anne Schmitt, California Company Town was an official selection at the 2009 Rotterdam International Film Festival.