United Gates of America

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

United Gates of America
Directed byAlex Cooke
StarringCharlie LeDuff
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Farah Durrani
Alex Cooke
Charlie LeDuff
Editor(s)Johnny Burke
Running time60 minutes
Original networkBBC Four
Original release
  • 14 August 2006 (2006-08-14)
External links

United Gates of America is a 2006 BBC television documentary directed by Alex Cooke, featuring journalist Charlie LeDuff. He lived for a month within the gated community of Canyon Lake in Riverside County, California, to try and discover why people wanted to lock themselves behind gates and fences, and what effect it had on the residents. The documentary also explored the issues of immigration from Mexico and Central America, and highlighted the issues of segregation and racism that exist in the United States.

The one-hour made-for-TV documentary premiered on British TV channel BBC Four in 2006,[1] with ongoing repeat showings.[2] The film also appeared at the 2007 Ann Arbor Film Festival, the USA Film Festival, and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.[3][4][5]

The film met with positive reviews. Ian Johns of The Times (London) found LeDuff to be "an acute interviewer and astute observer in this entertaining documentary."[6] TV Scoop found it "hilarious", emphasizing LeDuff's style: "He just ambles along, asking simple questions before pouncing Columbo-like with a killer last line. 'Oh look, there's a Mexican over there....gardening.' "[7] Matt Kettman of the Santa Barbara Independent wrote that the documentary was "eye-opening", "hilarious, probing, and meaningful," and that LeDuff "does not draw any solid conclusions for the viewer. We are left wondering whether these Canyon Lake residents are paranoid or correct."[8]

Soon after filming completed, Sharon Rice, the assistant editor of Canyon Lake's The Friday Flyer wrote an open letter to LeDuff listing a large number of "good people" and activities not covered in the documentary.[9] Three residents of Canyon Lake who later previewed the film were "disgusted by it" enough to write letters to the editor.[10][11] After the show was broadcast in the UK, and the UK tabloid In the Know labeled Canyon Lake "The World's Most Paranoid Town", the editor again wrote that the film omitted truthful positive information about the "little bit of paradise."[12]


  1. ^ "BBC Four Documentaries - United Gates of America". BBC. 7 June 2007. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  2. ^ "United Gates of America broadcasts" Ask-adders.com; Adam Leach. (backstage.bbc.co.uk).
  3. ^ Films listing Archived 8 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Ann Arbor Film Festival 2007. 25 March 2007.
  4. ^ "37th Annual USA Film Festival Schedule". USA Film Festival. 22 April 2007. Archived from the original on 19 July 2007.
  5. ^ "SBIFF Festival Movie Schedule - Documentaries". Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2007. 27 January 2007. Archived from the original on 14 November 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  6. ^ Johns, Ian (21 December 2006). "Bad girls serve up a Christmas turkey". The Times (UK).
  7. ^ Gimmers, Mof (Ed.) (14 August 2006). "Review: United Gates of America". tvscoop.tv; Shiny Media.
  8. ^ Kettmann, Matt (30 January 2007). "Inside the United Gates of America". Santa Barbara Independent.
  9. ^ Rice, Sharon (19 May 2006). "Open letter to a New York Times reporter". thefridayflyer.com; The Friday Flyer.
  10. ^ "Letter to the editor". thefridayflyer.com; The Friday Flyer (Canyon Lake). 22 September 2006. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  11. ^ "Letter to the editor". thefridayflyer.com; The Friday Flyer (Canyon Lake). 17 November 2006. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  12. ^ Rice, Sharon (17 November 2006). "A funny thing happened on the way home from London". thefridayflyer.com; The Friday Flyer (Canyon Lake).

External links[edit]