November 12, 2023


Day and Time
Sunday Nov 12, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

You are invited to a very special Santa Paula Cinema Society event on Sunday, November 12 at 7:00PM.

Visiting with us will be Paris documentary filmmaker Raphaël Millet, who will be screening his documentary GASTON MÉLIÈS AND HIS WANDERING STAR COMPANY and discussing his new work on Méliès currently in development.

Gaston Méliès, the brother of pioneering filmmaker George Méliès, shot nearly 90 silent films in Santa Paula upon locating his studio here in 1911, making extensive use of local outdoor locations for his one-reel Westerns. His company was first at the Sulphur Mountain Springs Resort in Santa Paula Canyon, then moved to a downtown location where the Santa Paula Theater Center and Ebell Park are located today.

In 1912-1913, while his brother Georges Méliès was still filming imaginary trips in his Parisian studio, Gaston Méliès undertook a ten-month long trip around Asia-Pacific, taking him with him a team of about 15 collaborators from San Francisco, to Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Java, Singapore, Cambodia, and Japan.

During this cinematographic adventure, he produced no less than 64 fiction and non-fiction movies, including some of the first ever shot in Java, Cambodia and Singapore (where he spent one month, in January 1913, filming in Chinatown, Little India and Pasir Ris). He was most likely the first filmmaker to give fiction roles to Tahitians, Maoris, Aborigines, Javanese and Cambodians.

He returned to the U.S. and Santa Paula only briefly, then back to France, where he died shortly after, in 1915, quickly falling into oblivion, as the world was engulfed in World War I. Tribute is here paid to this long-forgotten pioneer of the last days of early cinema, while taking the few surviving images of his voyage as an opportunity to reflect upon questions of alterity, identity and representation.

Raphaël Millet is in Santa Paula to research his current project, AMERICAN MÉLIÈS, documenting the work of Gaston Méliès in the United States, including his first “film ranch” in San Antonio and subsequently in Santa Paula.

The Santa Paula Cinema Society has been screening classic films monthly since 2012.

Admission is free.

Date: 12 November 2023
Time: 7:00 PM
Location Universalist Unitarian Church of Santa Paula
740 E. Main Street
Santa Paula 93060
Contact: Mitch Stone