California is a strong brand. The state of new beginnings, Dreams, Movie Stars, Surfers and a wonderful climate. But the Golden State is bankrupt and the city of Los Angeles is running out of cash. Public services are being cut and unemployment keeps rising. At the same time, optimism, entrepreneurship and the belief in the power of America are stronger than ever. “California Dreaming” is an online VPRO Backlight full-length documentary Directed by Bregtje Van Der Haak. The film provides you with a sobering look at how people’s lives have turned upside-down in California during the latest economic recession. Note that few of the people featured would fit into anyone’s stereotype of a potential “down-and-out”. The documentary is set against a background of US State California facing bankruptcy and Los Angeles city struggling with its cashflow. Optimism emerges in the film, but the message is clear that life is changing irreversibly and that new ways of living are required merely to survive. A-ONE-TO-WATCH.