While working on Slab City, her debut documentary, Swedish filmmaker Clara Tägtström came across a group of socially excluded young adults growing up in Los Angeles. Wild Youth is the product of these encounters—a series of portraits of adolescents living off-grid and experiencing a life caught between hope and despair, in a project produced with Bacon Production which has also been shortlisted for the Young Directors Award at Cannes.
Phenom, the subject of this portrait, has found a home away from home—a space that caters to the needs and wants of the young adults who live there, while allowing him to escape the violence that marked his original home. He wanted “a clean slate.”
“I happened upon Slab City by accident about five years ago,” explains the award-winning director. “My GPS led me to drive off in the wrong direction and I found myself a little lost in the middle of the Imperial Valley desert. Fast forward many years and many returns with a camera, I focused my filming and point of view on these wild youth. I was inspired and mesmerised by their moral, social, and political compass and how it is entirely based on the wild.” The wider project is produced by Anna Weitz of Mantaray Film with support of Steve Angello, the Swedish Film Institute, and Filmbasen/Film Stockholm.