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Documentary Feature
Plagues & Pleasures On The Salton Sea
Juror's Documentary Award

As narrated by legendary counterculture filmmaker john waters, there was time when the Salton Sea, tucked into the southeast corner of California was known as the Riviera of the West— a haven for jet-setters and vacationers. Originally created by accident, it’s now one of the country’s worst ecological disasters: A fetid, stagnant, salty lake, coughing up dead fish and birds by the thousands. Still, a hardy few have hung on there, hoping for help to come along and restore the lake to its former glory. Congressman sonny bono himself was once dedicated to saving the lake, until he went skiing one day... Eccentrics abound in this surreal landscape: The naked guy who waves to passing RVs; the man who built his own holy mountain; beer-loving Hungarian hunky daddy; the guys who plan to get rich someday when this virtual sewer becomes a Riviera again. Hair-raising and hilarious, part history lesson, part cautionary tale and part portrait of one of the strangest communities you’ve ever seen, this is the American dream gone as stinky as a dead carp. 


Chris Metzler, Jeff Springer
Chris Metzler, Jeff Springer
Sonny Bono, John Waters, Norm Niver
United States
67 minutes