Country of production: Italy

Year of production: 2022

Length: 93’

Language(s): English

Author and director: Susanna della Sala

Production: DocLab

DoP: Andrea Josè di Pasquale

Editors: Aline Hervè, Susanna della Sala and Elisabetta Abrami 

Original soundtrack: Vittorio De Vecchi 

Additional music: Alex Ebert, The Acid, Vera Sola, Zee Avi, Linda della Sala

Producers: Marco Visalberghi, DocLab
Sherin Salvetti, DocLab

︎ 2023 David di Donatello, Italian Academy Award- Top 10 best documentary

︎ 2022 Locarno Film Festival, Semaine de la critique Official Selection

︎ 2022 Festival Dei Popoli Official Selection  
        AMC Best Editing Award;
        theatrical distribution Award “IMPERDIBILI”
        theatrical distribution Award “ il Cinemino”

︎ 2022 Antenna Film Festival, Australia, International documentary competition

︎ 2023 Docville Official Selection
        Jury Award (candidate) Best International Documentary

︎ 2023 Freistadt Film Festival - Austria - International documentary competition


Among the remnants of a man-made disaster a forlorn community flourishes thanks to the healing power of art.


In the midst of the harsh Californian desert and on the shores of a toxic lake lies a land that time forgot: Bombay Beach. This once abandoned town is now home to a small eclectic community where art heals people in the most unexpected ways. A British matriarch, a retired bank robber, an evicted artist from LA and an Italian prince open the doors to a magical land, a living theater, perhaps a way to an alternative life.


The documentary was born from a personal life experience and its creative process was four years in the making. “Last Stop before Chocolate Mountain” to me represents a universal and metaphorical land where we confront ourselves, awakening our creative impulses, in the mirage of individual liberation. The film embodies the collective longing, both desperate and joyful, for acceptance and a sense of belonging.


When in 2019, back from her last long stay in Bombay Beach, Susanna della Sala came to us with her magical footage I realized how much that unique community had captured her imagination. Personally, I have always been fascinated by life stories from the edge of the world, be it the ‘’Sacred’’ GRA of Rome or the desert of California. That is why I decided to bet on this young and original director. Marco Visalberghi.


I’m an Italian writer, director and artist. Starting out as a doodler in the marshlands of the Po Valley, I found in filmmaking my most sincere and highest vocation. I graduated in Interior Design at Politecnico di Milano and at the Italian national film school Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia.

I gained experience working in the art department of several international film productions. I write, direct and sometimes perform in my films.
My path isn’t exactly traditional and linear. I have a strong predisposition for multidisciplinary and currently work as a director, writer, editor, set designer and illustrator. In the past I have worked as an interior designer, dancer and welder. Thanks to the work experience gained on film sets, I had the opportunity to discover directing which seemed to me to be the perfect synthesis between the roles of artist and technician, creator and professional. 

Most of my films start from doodles and sketches. I like to invent worlds and characters, trying to tell unconventional and extraordinary human stories. I have always been interested in the theme of outsiders,  marginalized individuals who, by choice or necessity, lead their lives far from a traditional society. My films The Fish Doctor, Wasteplanet, Last Stop before Chocolate Mountain and Wigs explore these themes.

In my creative process I tend to look for the magical and surreal element to underline the emotional and poetic aspect of the story and the character. I like to reinterpret the metaphorical element through a visual style often characterized by magical realism and fantastic elements.
Last Stop Before Chocolate Mountain
is my latest project – a documentary born from personal life experience that both tells the story and captures the spirit of Bombay Beach, a once abandoned town in the harsh California desert, where art heals people in the most unexpected ways. The film was selected to premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in 2022, it won 3 prizes at the Italian festival dei Popoli in Florence and it was shortlisted for the Italian Academy award David di Donatello in the Best Documentary category.