Imperial Valley (cultivated run-off)

Located in the southwestern United States and featuring extensive growing areas for fruit and vegetables, Imperial Valley stretches out for 80 kilometres, right up to the Mexican border. In the north, it borders on Salton Sea, a man-made lake created in the early 19th century. The agricultural exploitation and settlement of the valley can only be sustained through artificial irrigation. The run-off water and fertilizer involved in that process are channelled unfiltered into the lake, which lacks a natural drainage system. In the 1940s the US military used the region to conduct bomb tests and in the 50s it was opened to tourism and touted as the Californian Riviera. With the continuing aridification of the area and the stirring up of toxic dust particles Salton Sea is becoming a threat to humans and the environment at large – an ecological and economic disaster.
The camera-laden drone rises into the air, where it follows the artificial waterway. Underscored by electronic film music, the images of monocultures look like abstract paintings. Still, again and again the viewer is reminded of the function of the geometric forms and figures. An urge to grasp what will remain takes root.
Maike Mia Höhne
by Lukas Marxt Germany / Austria 2018 Without dialogue 14’ Colour


Written and Directed by Lukas Marxt
Cinematography Lukas Marxt
Editing Lukas Marxt
Editing Advisor Vanja Smiljanić
Sound Design Jung An Tagen

Lukas Marxt

Born in the Steiermark region of Austria in 1983, he studied geography and environmental system sciences in Graz until 2004. He then switched to audiovisual design at the University of Art and Design Linz. From 2007 to 2008 he studied art and multimedia at the Faculdade de Belas-Artes in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2009 he took up a postgraduate degree at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and a masters at the Academy of Fine Arts (HGB) in Leipzig. Following the short film Fishing is not done on Tuesdays, co-directed with Marcel Odenbach, this marks the second outing for their collaborative work in competition in the Berlinale Shorts. He lives and works in Cologne and Vienna.


2012 Nella Fantasia 2013 Reign of Silence; short film · It seems to be loneliness but it is not; short film · Two Skies; short film 2014 Low Tide; short film · High Tide; short film · Double Dawn; short film · Black Rain White Scars; short film 2015 Captive Horizon; short film · Wunderschön und ruhig gelegen; short film 2016 Cape Ground; short film · Circular Inscription; short film 2017 Fishing is Not Done On Tuesdays; Berlinale Shorts, Co-Director: Marcel Odenbach · Shadowland; short film, Co-Director: Vanja Smiljanić 2018 Imperial Valley (cultivated run-off)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018