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When the World Came to San Francisco

A documenatry-drama about a woman's visit to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. The film tells the story of the exposition through actual images and vintage film clips. Over 2 years in the making, this film was a labor of love for filmmaker R. Christian Anderson.

  • R. Christian Anderson
    The Ghosts of San Francisco, Defcon 2012, Tea and Destiny
  • R. Christian Anderson
  • Grover James Taylor
  • Beverly Washburn
    Key Cast
    Old Yeller, Star Trek (original series)
  • Clayton Moore
  • Gerry O'Brien
    The Tudors, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  • Linda Joy
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Drama, Jewish, Women
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 10 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 30, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Fridays at the de Young Museum
    San Francisco
    United States
    October 30, 2015
    World Premiere
Distribution Information
  • Telegraph Landing Productions
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - R. Christian Anderson

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Hollywood, his passion for film came at an early age. His mother, Lita, was a radio personality for station KMPC, at the time a music and entertainment station. He was performing on live radio in commercials by the age of 3. She took him to many movie premiers on the boulevard that she covered in her broadcasts, so he was able to meet many stars of the time while still a small child, among them Lucille Ball, Celeste Holm, Dick Powell, June Allison, cowboy star Lash LaRue, Sally Forrest and celebrity psychic "Criswell."

At the age of 9, his mother married Raymond D. Bowman, a jazz and classical music impresario and noted music critic who taught and encouraged Christian to write. His step-father later owned an art gallery in Beverly Hills where he was inspired by the artists showing there, including Innocenzo Daraio, Mae Babitz, Leonora Cetone Starr, and the late Edgar Payne. At age 12 he met legendary dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis, who encouraged his love of art and shared her life and career with him.

In 1969 Christian volunteered to serve in the United States Air Force where he was trained as an illustrator and designer. He created orientations and briefings with the 62nd Military Airlift Wing (MAC), where he was also a member of the Honor Guard. He later worked on military training films with the Aerospace Audiovisual Service (MAC), and worked with one of the first units to produce films on video tape, rather than film stock. He received an Honorable Discharge for his service.

By 1973 he moved to San Francisco where he freelanced as a graphic designer, creating numerous posters, brochures, print ads and collateral materials over the next couple of decades.

He spent two years in Springfield, Ohio where he was active in live theater. During the 1980 season at the Springfield Civic Theater, he performed in two plays, Agatha Christie's "Mousetrap" in the part of "Christopher Wren" and played the lead role of "Charles Condomine" in Noel Coward's comedy "Blythe Spirit". Both plays required him to speak in an English accent.

He lived in New York City in during the spring of 1984 and worked for an noted entertainment manager. It was during that time he was fortunate to meet several people he admired in film. Among them Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Treat Williams, Martin Scorsese, Shelley Winters, Anthony Franciosa, Joe Pesci, and Martin Balsam, respectively. This experience further inspired his passion for film.

During the 1990s he returned to college to obtain a degree in Multimedia and was then employed by two major advertising agencies in the San Diego area. He also gave tours at the San Francisco Opera House, worked as a classical music manager in a music store, and spent a season working with the Houston Symphony Orchestra in the Operations Department. He began freelancing as a writer and had several magazine articles on music and film published during this time.

By the 2000s, he turned to ghost-writing screenplays before finally directing his first feature-length film "Defcon 2012" in 2008. He is also a composer and song lyricist and co-wrote the song "The Ghosts of San Francisco," for the film "When the World Came to San Francisco", the music video of which won the "Mixed Genre Jazz Film Award" at the New York Jazz Film Festival" in November, 2016.

He is married and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. He continues to write, compose, and direct films. He is a member of ASCAP.

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Director Statement

I was inspired to make this feature-length narrative drama when I was was given 2 large photo albums that belonged to Reyna Belasco Rosenthal (1895-1976). She was 20 when she visited the Panama-Pacific International Exposition with her family. The albums contain over 260 photos taken at the fair. Reyna was also the niece of famed New York stage producer and playwright David Belasco and had a stage career as a child dancer on the stage. Reyna’s father Solomon Belasco was a shareholder for the Exposition, and with his family, was able to visit the fair 14 times over the course of its run. Since the 100th anniversary was quickly approaching, I began working on this feature to showcase this marvelous event, which will be told through Reyna’s eyes and photos. Though this remarkable fair lasted only 9 months, it hosted almost 19 million visitors, showcased for over 2 dozen foreign countries, 27 states, and became a celebration of the rebuilding of San Francisco following the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906. I already had a head start on the film, since I’ve been collecting memorabilia and souvenirs of historic San Francisco for over 38 years. Since beginning this film, I’ve been painstakingly collecting, sorting, and digitally restoring hundreds of images of the fair especially for this the film”. The film will be told in dramatic style through Reyna’s eyes by actress Beverly Washburn, who many will remember from her appearance on the original “Star Trek” and her 3 appearances on “The Streets of San Francisco” television show from the 1970s.