Andrea and Cat Smith, a mother/daughter filmmaking team from the Needles, Calif., area, have been nominated for “Best Short Film” at the Austin Revolution Film Festival held this week in Texas.
Andrea Z. Smith, who goes by “Anne Z. Smith” in the film industry, received an award for her last film, “Victim," a story of a rape survivor whose case in 1986 was the first in Southern California to use a new scientific technique called DNA. Smith won the “Bud” Holland Award at the Laughlin International Film Festival.
Smith said she stumbled upon her next topic for a documentary by taking a wrong turn during
her trip down to the Imperial Valley to write an article on the Salton Sea and the fish deaths.
Instead, Smith made that wrong turn and ended up arriving in an area where a conclave of nomadic people were living in cars, tents and even cardboard houses. Smith spent two days hanging around the encampment, that was known as “Slab City."
Twenty-some years later, Smith and her daughter, Cat, who is a reporter and has a child of her own, revisited “Slab City” to film a documentary short film for a reality show and the film festival circuit.
“Slab City” was nominated for “Best Local Film” in the short documentary category at the Laughlin International Film Festival last year. It was Cat Smith's debut as a film director.
That also brought a “Best Short Documentary” nod in the Austin Revolution Film Festival.
The film is slated for a television reality show and is scheduled for release to the public in December 2016. In the meantime, Smith said that they are also negotiating with a Film Production Company out of Austin and Los Angeles to purchase the show for television.
As for “Victim," the true crime story will be heading for a full=length feature film for television.
Smith said that she plans to build her film studio in an area that would provide jobs in the film industry. Those plans, she said, have been put on hold for the time being. The mother-daughter team will continue to do their filming in the Las Vegas area and surrounding areas.
They work under the film company of “Full Moon Rising Films” and “On the River Productions."