Land of Gold

Land of Gold

Land of Gold explores the making of John Adams and Peter Sellars’ outlandish opera about the California Gold Rush. The film transports us into very funny and very dark worlds, as two versions of the same story march forward 170 years apart: men and women on a collision course in California on the Fourth of July, 1851, and behind the scenes with quick-witted young opera singers excavating that same history in the age of Trump. Whatever you were expecting in a documentary about the Gold Rush, this is not it.

Amid the backstage hubbub, composer John Adams, singers Julia Bullock, Paul Appleby, J’Nai Bridges, and director Peter Sellars wrestle their bittersweet show “Girls of the Golden West” onto the stage. In Jon Else’s third documentary with Adams, Deadwood meets A Night at the Opera, as this rollicking documentary lays bare the flamboyant and brutal roots of modern American excess.

Our Funders

Catapult Film Fund
Sundance Institute Logo

Jon Else

Camille Servan-Schreiber

Richard Berge
Executive Producer

Gail Huddleson

Nina Goodby and Hanna Miller
Associate Producers

John Adams

An AfterImage Public Media Production in association with Bread and Butter Films. Based on “Girls of the Golden West”, written by John Adams and Peter Sellars. With Julia Bullock, J’Nai Bridges, Paul Appleby.

Major funding for LAND OF GOLD was provided by the Carol Franc Buck Foundation, Catapult Film Fund, Sundance Documentary Film Fund, David Fleishhacker and Fleishhacker Foundation