Private Project

The Canyon

Fifty years later, five friends reunite in the neighborhood they grew up in to reflect upon how their unusual childhoods in the hills above 1960s Los Angeles influenced themselves, their families, and their friends.

  • Jessica Romer
  • Alex Siskin
    Equalizer 2, Equalizer, Big Daddy, Troop Zero, Mr. Deeds, The Master of Disguise
  • Jessica Romer
  • Alex Siskin
    Equalizer 2, Equalizer, Big Daddy, Troop Zero, Mr. Deeds, The Master of Disguise
  • Jessica Romer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 3 minutes 51 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 9, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    RED 4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jessica Romer

Jessica Romer is a writer/director who graduated with honors from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2018. She wrote, directed, and produced the feature documentary The Canyon. Jessica is a writer and co-founder of the science entertainment company Cellheroes. While in film school, Jessica directed and produced several short films, garnering her distinctions as both a Discovery and Global Scholar. She collaborated with European filmmakers at film studios in Germany and the Czech Republic. Jessica was nominated by USC for a Fulbright Fellowship in New Zealand to direct and produce a documentary on female filmmakers. As her senior capstone project, Jessica created an award-winning thesis on the history of women in the film industry. Jessica is a Communications Committee Representative for USC's alumni organization, Women of Cinematic Arts.

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Director Statement

I grew up listening to the folklore of Coldwater Canyon from my dad about hot LA summer days, close encounters with Hollywood stars, and the lifelong friendship those formative years forged. So, curiously, the summer after graduating from film school, I rounded up the gang, the self-proclaimed Coldwater Cowboys, at their parents’ houses in the hills above Beverly Hills for one more birthday celebration. What I thought would be an inquiry became an odyssey. Through unearthing these stories, I realized the extremeness of my dad and his friends' tales as well as their cultural significance. Yet, I also found that this close-knit community’s stories echo universal themes of friendship, competition, nostalgia, and aging—all topics I related to while I was flipping my own chapter from childhood to adulthood. Once the friends reunited around the old kitchen table, time stood still; it was as if the last fifty years hadn’t passed. Comparing the young and now-aging faces of these friends from the Canyon made me think of my own friends and wonder how different, and similar, we will be when we fast-forward a few decades ourselves. Many spectacular things brewed in the Canyon during my dad’s youth—chart-topping records, generation-defining performances, and front-page scandals—yet, in my opinion, the most spectacular was the simple, idyllic lives of the families who called the Canyon home.