The Royal Road

DIRECTOR: Jenni Olson

Expected to attend: Director Jenni Olson, Editor Dawn Logsdon, Producers Julie Dorf, Michael Ehrenzweig

This is a road movie like no other. For one, it is in large part about the actual road—the 600-mile-long El Camino Real (also known as the King’s Highway), which runs from San Francisco to Los Angeles (and beyond). It is also about many other seemingly disconnected things, including the Spanish colonization of California, the Mexican-American War, and the controversial legacy of soon-to-be-canonized Father Junipero Serra; butch identity, the writings of Casanova, and the pursuit of beautiful but unattainable women; old-school Hollywood iconography and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo; and the distinct pull and pleasure of nostalgia. Acclaimed San Francisco queer filmmaker Jenni Olson’s (The Joy of Life, Frameline29) engrossing cinematic personal essay is part memoir, part history lesson, part travelogue—and entirely original. Olson’s calm, confessional narration is gracefully layered (by renowned editor Dawn Logsdon, Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, Frameline37) over a series of mesmerizing static images of diverse California landscapes, shot on 16mm film by award-winning cinematographer Sophie Constantinou (Regarding Susan Sontag, Frameline38). Each image is entirely devoid of people yet feels very much alive—a fixed moment in time and place that offers a singular representation of the lifeblood of California. An official selection of Sundance 2015 and an intimate and deliberate meditation on memory, The Royal Road is Olson’s exquisite attempt to hang on to what is constantly changing.

— Joanne Parsont

This film is a recipient of a Frameline Completion Fund grant.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D320

Co-presented by:
Bay Area Video Coalition
Canyon Cinema Foundation
Oakland Underground Film Festival
San Francisco Film Society

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