5 years of research, filming and interviewing many people involved with Burning Man, I’m happy to announce the documentary is done, and started screening in March 2009.

Find the film on IMDB for rating/reviews:


Film Synopsis: Dust & Illusions explores 30 years of history of the Burning Man event. Born in the underground of San Francisco in the 1980s, the festival became the largest counter- cultural event in North America. It is unique in that it is created by the people who come to the event, the participants, not the organizers, and in that sense it has survived its original ideals/utopias, but the ideas have been eroded by time, pressure from the larger society. The film is a look at this necessary evolution and expansion and questions our ability to stand behind those ideals over a lifetime.


First Effigy of the Burning Man (1986)About Burning Man: Burning Man started officially in 1986, on a god-like vision of Larry Harvey… well at least that’s what he says. Harvey had been living a pretty hermit like life with his girlfriend in Oregon until 1978 when he moved to San Francisco. There he met diverse groups of creative people, that certainly influenced him to go down to Baker beach with his friend Jerry James and other carpenters and burn the first little Wicker Man like effigy (he will deny the Wicker Man origins, but that’s the version I personally prefer).

Later on the event kept happening on Baker Beach until 1990, where police stopped them from burning it. The San Francisco Cacophony Society was organizing a Zone Trip (excursion of their own) to the Black Rock Desert 2 months later and invited the Burning Man to come with them on Labor Day of 1990 (September). There were 89 people.

Eventually the little gathering grew into a large scale festival, that features a large amount of Art specifically built for the event by people from all over the world, but mostly within the United States. Nowadays what makes the event still unique is its location (the Black Rock desert is a federally protected natural preserve 200km from the first city Reno), its concept (the organizers take care of the legal permits, the infrastructure, but do not bring any of the Art and entertainment available during the event. That is brought by the participants themselves to their own costs) and its length (it goes on for 8 full days).

Filming at BM with the worm


Director’s Note: I discovered Burning Man in 2003. I had lived in San Francisco for 5 years at that point, and had heard about the event, and the general accounts sounded like “It’s the most amazing experience you’ll ever have”, “It has changed my life”, “It’s a wild decadent party”… Born in France, I had a hard time to believe the first two about a one-week festival in the desert. I always thought that things that change your life are not a single event in your life but rather they’re based on a long process – which we might not always be aware of. And after 5 years in the USA, I also started to have a good understanding of how always mesmerized Americans, at least the ones from the San Francisco area, seem to be about everything. Always genuinely exaggerating. On the other hand I had no doubt that a festival with 40 or 50,000 in the middle of desert could degenerate into a wild decadent party.

Party at the Deep End campSo in 2003, I finally decided to go, and see for myself what kind of life changing experience the desert party really was. I packed some food, a tent, and went off 6 hours away from San Francisco. When I started to see the city, 10 miles away, emerging from the desert floor, it looked like Mad Max. Literally. A flat piece of earth, with dust plumes rising high above the ground, and a massive encampment in the middle of it. It was a very surreal vision. How could a place like that really exist? Once I entered the festival, it still looked like Mad Max with all these tents and shade structures, and sometimes a vehicle that resembled a space ship, or a simple couch on wheels. People appeared as if they had been residing there for a while, and for some, as if they had lost their mind. Indeed, decadent, but more like the end of a civilization. After a few days, I started to have a better feel for this city in the dust. People had come here, and for the most part set up camps to party, drink or do some yoga. Some were more elaborate than others, but in general, it seemed like a lot of money had been thrown into the camps. Based on the festival rules, no money could be exchanged here, and those who came prepared were here to give away their drinks, massages, and music 24/7.

In the end, Burning Man is different from other festivals because the attendees are the ones providing the entertainment, not the organizers. It gives a strong sense of freedom, since anyone can make anything happen. But a party remains a party, and quickly the original curiosity softens out. One aspect, though, made the festival really unique: the Art. Outside the boundaries of the encampment, in the open desert, lied around some pretty impressive sculptures. With the desert floor as a canvas, the mountains as the frame, the place Party Art Carwas transformed into a gigantic museum, where the artwork was left to the madness of the participants and the natural forces. That museum appeared like nature had ripped its walls down, and there were left the pieces of the last exhibition. Again, it felt like civilization had just ended, although, quickly enough, an ambulant rave party would come cruising by merely using the artwork as a reference point in their journey to nowhere.

When I came back to San Francisco, I decided to learn more about the organizers and the artists responsible for this extravagant gathering. It took me 3 years to discover everything that I know about Burning Man today. Very early on, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Flash who has been a very close friend of Larry Harvey, the main founder of the event, since Larry’s arrived in San Francisco in 1980 and I have lived quite a few adventure with him and others, allowing me to get pretty intimate with some historically important figures of the festival. In 2004, I also joined the Flaming Lotus Girls, one of the emblematic groups of artists who have produced impressive sculptures of metal that spits large amounts of fire for the festival. My participation in their group allowed meeting many other artists and active participants as well as people involved in the organization of the event.

The Serpent Mother by the Flaming Lotus Girls

During those 3 years, most of these characters have shared with me the stories that have made their lives and the history of the event, and of its deep origins in the counter-cultural movements of the late 70s and 80s in San Francisco. It was only in this manner that all 22 interviewees that make the documentary, opened up to my “intrusive” questions, my provocations and questioning of their beliefs and culture, allowing for an in-depth look at the birth and rise of one of the major counter-cultural event in North America of the past 30 years.

The documentary is a look at another attempt to create a community with more humane values, and how hard it is to escape the system of the larger world we live in. There’s a little bit of hope, though, through the portrait of the artists that truly make the event unique. For them the weeklong festival is like a wink of the eye, since groups like the Flaming Lotus Girls spend the other 51 weeks of the year creating their artwork, and there, in their collaboration, they find the social connections we seem to miss more and more.

A film by Olivier Bonin Madnomad Films & IMAGINE ©2008.After 4 years of research, filming and interviewing many people involved with Burning Man, I’m happy to announce the documentary is done, and will start screening this March 2009.

Find the film on IMDB for your future bad commenting and voting:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1312081/


Film Synopsis: Dust & Illusions explores 30 years of history of the Burning Man event. Born in the underground of San Francisco in the 1980s, the festival became the largest counter- cultural event in North America. It is unique in that it is created by the people who come to the event, the participants, not the organizers, and in that sense it has survived its original ideals/utopias, but the ideas have been eroded by time, pressure from the larger society. The film is a look at this necessary evolution and expansion and questions our ability to stand behind those ideals over a lifetime.


First Effigy of the Burning Man (1986)About Burning Man: Burning Man started officially in 1986, on a god-like vision of Larry Harvey… well at least that’s what he says. Harvey had been living a pretty hermit like life with his girlfriend in Oregon until 1978 when he moved to San Francisco. There he met diverse groups of creative people, that certainly influenced him to go down to Baker beach with his friend Jerry James and other carpenters and burn the first little Wicker Man like effigy (he will deny the Wicker Man origins, but that’s the version I personally prefer).

Later on the event kept happening on Baker Beach until 1990, where police stopped them from burning it. The San Francisco Cacophony Society was organizing a Zone Trip (excursion of their own) to the Black Rock Desert 2 months later and invited the Burning Man to come with them on Labor Day of 1990 (September). There were 89 people.

Eventually the little gathering grew into a large scale festival, that features a large amount of Art specifically built for the event by people from all over the world, but mostly within the United States. Nowadays what makes the event still unique is its location (the Black Rock desert is a federally protected natural preserve 200km from the first city Reno), its concept (the organizers take care of the legal permits, the infrastructure, but do not bring any of the Art and entertainment available during the event. That is brought by the participants themselves to their own costs) and its length (it goes on for 8 full days).

Filming at BM with the worm


Director’s Note: I discovered Burning Man in 2003. I had lived in San Francisco for 5 years at that point, and had heard about the event, and the general accounts sounded like “It’s the most amazing experience you’ll ever have”, “It has changed my life”, “It’s a wild decadent party”… Born in France, I had a hard time to believe the first two about a one-week festival in the desert. I always thought that things that change your life are not a single event in your life but rather they’re based on a long process – which we might not always be aware of. And after 5 years in the USA, I also started to have a good understanding of how always mesmerized Americans, at least the ones from the San Francisco area, seem to be about everything. Always genuinely exaggerating. On the other hand I had no doubt that a festival with 40 or 50,000 in the middle of desert could degenerate into a wild decadent party.

Party at the Deep End campSo in 2003, I finally decided to go, and see for myself what kind of life changing experience the desert party really was. I packed some food, a tent, and went off 6 hours away from San Francisco. When I started to see the city, 10 miles away, emerging from the desert floor, it looked like Mad Max. Literally. A flat piece of earth, with dust plumes rising high above the ground, and a massive encampment in the middle of it. It was a very surreal vision. How could a place like that really exist? Once I entered the festival, it still looked like Mad Max with all these tents and shade structures, and sometimes a vehicle that resembled a space ship, or a simple couch on wheels. People appeared as if they had been residing there for a while, and for some, as if they had lost their mind. Indeed, decadent, but more like the end of a civilization. After a few days, I started to have a better feel for this city in the dust. People had come here, and for the most part set up camps to party, drink or do some yoga. Some were more elaborate than others, but in general, it seemed like a lot of money had been thrown into the camps. Based on the festival rules, no money could be exchanged here, and those who came prepared were here to give away their drinks, massages, and music 24/7.

In the end, Burning Man is different from other festivals because the attendees are the ones providing the entertainment, not the organizers. It gives a strong sense of freedom, since anyone can make anything happen. But a party remains a party, and quickly the original curiosity softens out. One aspect, though, made the festival really unique: the Art. Outside the boundaries of the encampment, in the open desert, lied around some pretty impressive sculptures. With the desert floor as a canvas, the mountains as the frame, the place Party Art Carwas transformed into a gigantic museum, where the artwork was left to the madness of the participants and the natural forces. That museum appeared like nature had ripped its walls down, and there were left the pieces of the last exhibition. Again, it felt like civilization had just ended, although, quickly enough, an ambulant rave party would come cruising by merely using the artwork as a reference point in their journey to nowhere.

When I came back to San Francisco, I decided to learn more about the organizers and the artists responsible for this extravagant gathering. It took me 3 years to discover everything that I know about Burning Man today. Very early on, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Flash who has been a very close friend of Larry Harvey, the main founder of the event, since Larry’s arrived in San Francisco in 1980 and I have lived quite a few adventure with him and others, allowing me to get pretty intimate with some historically important figures of the festival. In 2004, I also joined the Flaming Lotus Girls, one of the emblematic groups of artists who have produced impressive sculptures of metal that spits large amounts of fire for the festival. My participation in their group allowed meeting many other artists and active participants as well as people involved in the organization of the event.

The Serpent Mother by the Flaming Lotus Girls

During those 3 years, most of these characters have shared with me the stories that have made their lives and the history of the event, and of its deep origins in the counter-cultural movements of the late 70s and 80s in San Francisco. It was only in this manner that all 22 interviewees that make the documentary, opened up to my “intrusive” questions, my provocations and questioning of their beliefs and culture, allowing for an in-depth look at the birth and rise of one of the major counter-cultural event in North America of the past 30 years.

The documentary is a look at another attempt to create a community with more humane values, and how hard it is to escape the system of the larger world we live in. There’s a little bit of hope, though, through the portrait of the artists that truly make the event unique. For them the weeklong festival is like a wink of the eye, since groups like the Flaming Lotus Girls spend the other 51 weeks of the year creating their artwork, and there, in their collaboration, they find the social connections we seem to miss more and more.

A film by Olivier Bonin Madnomad Films & IMAGINE ©2008.
バーニングマンには本来「NO SPECTATORS(傍観者になるな)」というポリシーがあり、主催者ではなく、個々の参加者によってイベントが形作られていくべきだとされていました。しかし、時代が進み、イベントが拡大してゆくに従い、当初の理想から変化を余儀なくされていきます。すべてのイベントが内包しているこのような問題に対し、「ダストアンドイリュージョンズ」ではバーニングマンの成長や拡大を追いつつ、人生においても同様に理想を追い求める事が可能なのか、問いかけます。

制作期間4年、さまざまな人々へのロングインタビューを経て、ついに世界最大級のアートと自己表現の祭典「バーニングマン」の奇跡をひもとくドキュメンタリー・フィルムが完成!2009年3月より上映開始!2011年4月、日本初上陸!

IMBDで投票したり、辛口レビューを残す時はコチラからどうぞ。
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1312081/

映画解説:ドキュメンタリー・フィルム「ダストアンドイリュージョンズ」では、バーニングマンを取り巻く30年を振り返ります。1980年代にサンフランシスコのアンダーグラウンド・アート・シーンで産まれたこのイベントは、今や北米最大のアートと自己表現の祭典へと成長しました。


First Effigy of the Burning Man (1986)バーニングマンとは:公式な見解では、バーニングマンは1986年にラリー・ハーヴェイのひらめきによって始まった。オレゴンで恋人と仙人のように暮らしていたラリーは、1978年にサンフランシスコへ居を移す。ビート・ムーブメント、ヒッピーカルチャーを体現するさまざまな人々が住むサンフランシスコでラリーは大きな影響を受けた。そして1985年、彼は友人のジェリー・ジェイムスたちと映画「ウィッカー・マン」に登場するような巨大な人形を作り、「バーニングマン」の名前でベイカー・ビーチで火を放ったのだった(彼はウィッカー・マンが元ネタだというのを否定しているが、個人的にはこれが一番気に入っている説だ)。今も続く、バーニングマンの儀式が始まった瞬間だった。

この後も1990年までベイカー・ビーチでバーニングマンは毎年続けられるが、拡大し続けるイベントに警察当局がついに介入し、ベイカー・ビーチでバーニングマンを燃やすことを禁止してしまった。2ヶ月後、アート集団「コカフォニー・ソサエティ」がネバダ州北部にあるブラックロック砂漠へZONE TRIPと称して旅立ち、行き場を失ったバーニングマンをどこまでも巨大で自由な砂漠へと招き入れた。ブラックロック砂漠でのバーニングマンは、わずか89人の参加者と共にこの時から始まったのだった。

バーニングマンはその後急速に拡大し、世界中から数万の参加者を集め、会場はアートで彩られるようになった。人里離れた巨大な砂漠という圧倒的なロケーション、「NO SPECTATORS(傍観者になるな)」のポリシーで行われる自由なアート・パフォーマンス、そして8日間というイベント期間。他に類のないこの特徴が、20年経った今も人々を魅了し続けている。

A film by Olivier Bonin Madnomad Films & IMAGINE ©2008.