Cato’s Project on Poverty and Inequality in California

How is it that a state like California, with pockets of vast wealth, solid economic growth, and an extensive social safety net, can nonetheless have the highest poverty rate in the nation?

For the past two and a half years, the Cato Institute’s Project on Poverty and Inequality in California has been asking this question and seeking ways in which California should reform its policies to help lift people out of poverty and to enable them to fully participate in the state’s economy.

  • Lena Popilieva
  • Michael Tanner
  • Simone Shenny
  • Lena Popilieva
  • Joseph Verruni
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    27 minutes 38 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 20, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival
    Houston, Texas
    United States
    Gold Award
  • Oregon Documentary Film Festival
    Dalles, OR
    United States
    January 22, 2022
    Best Editing Award, Best Documentary Film Finalist
  • Marina del Rey Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    June 17, 2022
    Best Documentary About California
  • Malibu Film Festival
    United States
  • Hollywood Gold Awards
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    Best Documentary Short
Director Biography - Lena Popilieva

Lena is an award-winning director and producer.

She was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, and is currently based in Washington, DC.
Between 2012 and 2015, she worked as a theatre director in three of the biggest Bulgarian theatres.
In 2015, she moved to South Africa to pursue her postgraduate degree in Motion Picture and started shooting short fiction and documentary films.
In 2019, she moved to the United States and has been working at the Cato Institute since 2020.
She continues to work on documentary and fiction projects and has a special interest in VR/AR production.
Lena is also one of the founders of the International Film Festival On the Beach, an environmental film festival on the Black Sea.

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