A Handmade Life is the inspiring and wondrous story of a man who in his simple search to “purchase” his freedom, a place to make his life home, tells a tale of adventure on a local level. In a more rural area of southern California, through clever searches, he discovers an undeveloped parcel of land in the Santa Monica Mountains of Ventura County. After securing his find, his 17-year work of planning and building a shelter for his family there made of concrete in the very beautiful Mexican-inspired style, becomes the focus of his life.

Although not of Mexican heritage, his connection and visits to Mexico show in the furniture, the decoration and the surroundings of how he lives his life. Despite the obstacles of the local bureaucracy and the tests of his inventiveness to overcome his building challenges, he perseveres with a resolved nature of fiscal responsibility and frugal practice.

In a message for the global “us,” in these times of financial challenge, in these trying moments of bucking the headwinds of society by navigating the increasingly difficult and complex paths of technical and governmental change, Rick Mecagni creates a grand world filled with purpose and beauty teaching us along the way. There is a lesson of life in this film. And it is one that we know or can know if we simply follow Mr. Mecagni’s lead and piece our handmade lives one step at a time.

TOTAL RUN TIME30 minutes
ASPECT16:9 – 1.78:1



A Handmade Life


“Locals Only” Radio Interview with William Stetz. KVTA 1520 Ventura County

William Stetz, left, with Ventura Film Festival director Jordan Older.

Rick Mecagni, seated, during the filming of A Handmade Life. Director William Stetz operates camera.