Scene from the film Imperial Valley (Cultivated Run-Off)
Scene from the film Imperial Valley (Cultivated Run-Off)
Scene from the film Imperial Valley (Cultivated Run-Off)
Share via
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Imperial Valley (Cultivated Run-Off)

  • Austria
  • Germany

The Imperial Valley represents one of California´s most important regions of industrial agriculture. Corporate agricultural production interests have been able to successfully cultivate and exploit this geological part of the Sonora desert through a gigantic irrigation system fed by the Colorado River, as well as the All-American Canal specifically engineered for this purpose and which attained sad notoriety through the Mexican migration movement. The system´s run-off flows through pipes, pumps and canals leading to the Salton Sea, an artificial lake that is approaching ecological as well as economic disaster, just as bordering regions of Mexico.

With Imperial Valley (Cultivated Run-Off) Lukas Marxt approaches this problem in a very ingenious way. He begins with a bird´s eye view of an irrigation canal coursing through a desert landscape. A drone camera flies the length of the canal, subsequently flying over Imperial Valley landscapes from the same perspective. Initially appearing as nothing more than spectacular documents of agricultural monocultures, the shots become increasingly abstract – additionally heightened through the accompaniment of an electronic score. Is this an actual or artificially simulated landscape? This ambiguity is precisely the point: The Imperial Valley is becoming the "Uncanny Valley", a place that is not yet or no longer natural and thereby appears eerie. A landscape post landscape (or its medial representation) is a geometric concept of lines, surfaces, points and color spots, regardless whether of an animate or lifeless nature. Although manmade, it is not a place for people anymore, neither ontologically nor in reality. The post-apocalypse is not a matter of the future, we are already in the thick of it. (Claudia Slanar)


  • Original Title
    Imperial Valley (Cultivated Run-Off)
  • Direction
  • Cinematography
    Lukas Marxt
  • Editing
    Lukas Marxt
  • Runtime
    14 min (1-15 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Austria
    • Germany
  • Format
    • Colour
  • Distribution
  • Festivals
    • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
    • Intern. Filmfestspiele Berlinale
    • Dresden Filmfest
    • Diagonale Graz
    • LICHTER Film Festival Frankfurt
    • Dokumentarfilmwoche Hamburg
    • Vienna Shorts
    • Internationales Kurzfilmfestival Hamburg
    • Moscow Int. Experimental Film Festival
    • IndieCork Film Festival
    • IDFA
    • München UnderDox
    • Imagine Science Films Brooklyn
    • Edinburgh International Film Festival
    • Kosovo Dokufest Doc Film Festival
    • Febiofest Bratislava
    • WRO-International Media Art Biennale Wroclaw
    • Rotterdam Architecture Film Festival
    • CinemAmbiente Torino
    • Mountain Film Festival Ulju (Korea)
    • Tampere Film Festival
    • Regensburg Kurzfilmwoche
    • Festival Cinematográfico Internacional del Uruquay
    • Minimalen Short Film Festival Trondheim
  • Awards
    • EMAF - European Media Art Festival (EMAF Media Art Award of the German Film Critics)
    • Gijon International Film Festival (PRINCIPADO DE ASTURIAS PRIZE FORBEST SHORT FILM) is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

Doc Alliance Members

Sign up to receive regular updates on our film program:

By signing up for the newsletter, I hereby consent to receiving commercial communications by electronic means and to all relevant personal data processing required for the purpose of sending the Doc-Air Distribution s.r.o. newsletter. I hereby confirm that I have read and familiarized myself with the Principles of Personal Data Processing and that I consent to the text therein. I also hereby acknowledge the rights specified herein, including, without limitation, the right to submit objections against direct marketing techniques.

Poslat svému Junioru