March 21, 2019
Los Angeles-based speculative designer Joshua Dawson’s film, Loa’s Promise, has won the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival Jury Award for Best Horror, Thriller, Sci-Fi Short Film. After garnering attention from major media outlets and premiering in Rotterdam at AFFR, the world’s biggest film festival dedicated to architecture, Loa’s Promise had its US premiere at the Academy Award-qualifying Cinequest, where audiences praised the film’s message and methodology.
“No vision of the future feels as prescient, or more abstractly frightening, than Loa's Promise,” says Chris Garcia, Co-Director of the Cinequest Shorts Program. “It is a speculative masterwork.”
Dawson’s film asks the audience to consider that future and raises uncomfortable questions about the hidden costs of economic and technological advancement.
Set in the Atacama Desert of the near-future, Loa’s Promise depicts a society drained of its lifeblood: water. As the film traverses the ghost towns of Chile, the narrative reminds us that, though the visuals may be futuristic, the global issues underpinning the film are all too real.
For Dawson, creating this disconcerting future was a part of his larger responsibility as an architect. He believes that architects have an obligation to “regain control of the socio-political factors that shape our built environment.”
“Fiction is the perfect medium to build alternative worlds as a form of activist practice,” says Dawson. “I’m honored that Cinequest has given me a platform to have my voice heard.”
About Joshua Dawson: Joshua Ashish Dawson is an Indian born, Los Angeles-based filmmaker & speculative architect working at the intersection of architecture and fiction. He trained under Pritzker Prize-winning architect Balkrishna Doshi and Hollywood production designer Alex McDowell. Joshua has been featured in Vice Motherboard, ArchDaily, Designboom, Design Indaba, and Domus Italy, and he recently earned a place on the 2018 IGen list of “the top young Indian architects and designers.” His work has been exhibited in the Garden of Australian Dreams at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, at A+D Museum Los Angeles and at the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam.
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