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Darwin is a documentary film about an isolated community at the end of a weathered road in Death Valley, California. Propelled from society by tragic turns, the people of Darwin (population 35) must now find ways to coexist in a place without a government, a church, jobs, or children. The near-ghost town's survival depends on a fragile, gravity-fed waterline that descends from the mountains where top secret weapons are being tested. One "accidental" drop of a bomb, they half-joke, could wipe out their entire town.
“While making the film, I found that the Darwinites were not the crazies, drug addicts and low-lifes some people from surrounding areas would have you believe. Their lives, characters and opinions were far more complex. I wanted the film to truthfully reflect my experience in Darwin, while still exploring the weird and eccentric aspects of the place. With this film, I am hoping to give the audience a chance to learn more about people and lifestyles they would otherwise not know about, and perhaps be inclined to pre-judge if they did”, said director Nick Brandestini.


Karlovy Vary International Film Festival – selected for competition; Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival – selected for competition, Special Mention; Big Sky Documentary Film Festival – Big Sky Award for Artistic Vision.

Nick Brandestini

Nick Brandestini (b. 1975, Zürich) lived in the United States in 1977–81 before returning to Zürich where he resides today. In 2002 he graduated from the University of Zurich in business and economics. In addition to his job in marketing, he directs, produces, shoots, and edits documentary films. They were screened and awarded at many international film festivals. From 1999 to 2002 Nick Brandestini worked at Viva music TV station, producing and editing an informational program about film. Darwin is his first feature-length documentary.