A stunning view of lush green golf courses in the Coachella Valley overshadows the stark Mojave Desert next door. Throughout Robinson Devor’s film, black-and-white title transitions divide 14 short “chapters,” following the differing accounts of a 1908 manhunt of 28-year-old Chemehuevi-Paiute Indian “Willie Boy” in the desert and the flashy celebration of a modern-day “pow wow” by country-club-goers. After killing the father of his 16-year-old cousin and lover, Willie Boy and Carlota evade authorities by fleeing across a stretch of 500 miles of desert in blistering heat. In the present day, beneath the valley’s surface, fights over a massive aquifer sitting on Native American land remain hidden, while above, the partygoers frolic in feathers and cowboy boots as “time swims.” Panning over the burned desert and electronic surveillance fences designed to keep outsiders off luxury golf courses, Devor seems to be asking: Has anything changed in the past 100 years? Excerpts from the movie Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969), along with narration by various desert characters, provide commentary on the ongoing and uncertain past and present struggles for water and freedom in the Coachella Valley.
Seattle-based filmmaker Robinson Devor has been writing and directing since the mid-1990s. His directorial debut was the 1995 documentary, Angelyne. In 1999, he wrote and directed his first feature-length film, The Woman Chaser.
Sponsored by 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Washington State Arts Commission, Shoreline Community College, Encore City Arts, Seattle Weekly
Director: Robinson Devor
Premiere Status: Seattle
Running Time: 74 minutes
Producer: Victoria Nevinny
Screenplay: Michael McConville
Cinematographers: Sean Kirby
Editors: Adam Sekuler
Website: Official Film Website
Filmography: You Can’t Win (2016); Zoo (2007); Police Beat (2005); The Woman Chaser (1999); Angelyne (1995)