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In 1780 California, a mixed-blood scout, violently torn from his tribe, struggles to return to his people.

“Alta California" divides in three segments. We first meet Paco Palido, a mixed-blood indigenous youth working as an unbaptized mission scout. Here we learn of the slaughter of his mother and tribe, of his upbringing in a residential school and eventual employment as mission scout in the Spanish army led by Captain Felipe de Neve (an actual historical figure and California’s “forgotten” man). Through Paco's eyes we witness the angry confrontations between Neve and Padre Serra. We also, through Paco’s eyes, view how some Spanish soldiers abuse natives, especially women—even those baptized.

In the second segment, we experience Paco’s life-change after he is "captured" by the “heathen” Chumash. Are these his people? In a powerful and haunting scene, Paco “meets” the ghost of his murdered mother. He leaves the Chumash having found a purpose: to help his people in this evolving world.

In the third segment, Paco attempts to complete that task. Can he help rehabilitate the mission Indians into their previous tribal ways? Can he help his people prepare for the coming of the white man from the East? But his vision of a future for his people, which is supported by Neve, runs up against the radically different plan of the thoroughly determined and uncompromising Serra.

“Alta California” is a multiple national and international film festival award winner (70 + “award winnings” as of this writing) including Los Angeles Film and Script, Richmond International, Lonely Seal; WeScreenplay Diverse Voices; Accolade Global (Native American/Aboriginal Peoples); Wiki Screenplay, Beverley Hills Film Festival (finalist), and many more in the USA and overseas. It is a second rounder in ISA Fast Track Fellowship, 2023, and semi-finalist in Scriptmatix Fellowship, 2023. Quarterfinalist in LA Diversity Film Festival, 2023. It is a top rated unproduced historical screenplay by MovieBytes. Critics have compared it to The Revenant. It is in the top 5% on Coverfly.

California is currently coming to terms with its treatment of its indigenous peoples. As Scriptmatix notes: “ . . this film raises important questions about the causes on the demise of the indigenous people, and their original relationships between these people and the new rulers. All of these aspects are immersed in a dramatic and tense atmosphere in which our protagonist needs to find his home and identity.” (2023).

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Starring Roles For:
Johnny Lee Miller (Serra)
D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai (Paco)
Keanue Reeves (Captain Felipe de Neve)
In the Vein Of:
The Revenant
A Warrior’s Tale
Killers of the Flower Moon
Author Bio:
I was born and raised in Cardiff, Wales. I emigrated to the United States, receiving my MA and PhD from UCSB. I taught English studies and creative writing at CSU, Chico. I am a multiple national and international award-winning screenplay writer. I also have won awards for my stage plays and novels.

I love to explore and write, in serious and comic forms, stories of those who, through choice or happenstance, find themselves strangers in a strange land (or even in their own land).

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Contest Results:
Austin Fest Film (First Place, Austin International Art Fest) [2022]
Indie Fest USA (First Place) [2023]
WRPN.tv Screenplay (First Place, altacalifornia.com) [2023]
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