Burning Man Films - 1986 to 2000


1986 Baker Beach Burn

1986 Baker Beach Burn. Note: No audio. The original material does not contain audio.



1988 Baker Beach Burn

Archival footage of the 1989 Burn on Baker Beach.



1989 Baker Beach Burn

Archival footage of the 1989 Burn on Baker Beach.



“A Burning Man, 1990”

Larry Harvey gained access to free video equipment through the Bay Area Video Coalition, which resulted in two videos based on film from early Burns.

The first video was created around 1990 by Peter Hassan, with help from Larry and features quotes from Larry, with ambient music by Brian Eno and William Empson. Third Wave Productions produced it (one of their first productions). It shows the raising of the Man in 1990 on Baker Beach, and it being again raised and burned at the first Burning Man at Black Rock Desert.

This 2002 re-mastering improved both the audio and video of the original version. It was never publicly released.

Burning Man 1990

Home video of Burning Man 1990



1991 Fort Mason Man Exhibition (very poor audio and video)

Larry Harvey was awarded a grant by the Capp Street Project for the display of the Man on a barge for a week at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. The very poor quality video shows the rising of the man. Featuring John Law (voice), along with Larry Harvey and Dean Gustafson on drums

Burning Man (1991 by Larry Harvey)

In 1991, Larry Harvey created a short film about Burning Man. The previous year he had learned from Peter Hassan of the resources offered by the Bay Area Video Coalition, which at the time provided free use of video recording and editing equipment to independent producers.

1991 Black Rock City

Film of the procession to raise the man and the 1991 Burn.



Pop. 2,000; Cost $30; No Theme

Burning Man Festival 1994

(Release date: 1995, 48 min.)

Director & Producer: Chuck Cirino

Featuring: Chuck CirinoSharkbait.Larry HarveyJohn LawBill SmytheMichael MikelHarvey K BiermanWilliam AbernathyKimric SmytheDale ScottDezso Molnar;

 Includes interviews with Larry Harvey and John Law. Featuring JD Boggman (and the first RV ever at Burning Man).

Rare video of Tom Kennedy’s Ripper the Shark and Alien Warrior by Eric Lamb, two early art cars. Camera Obscura; Human Spontaneous Combustion Theater by Rev Al; Drive-by Shooting Gallery; Rocket Boy (Dezsö Molnár).

Weird TV Segments from Burning Man 1994-96

(Release date: various; 10 minutes)

Features all three segments from Weird TV:

  • Rocket Boy (Dezsö Molnár) See him in this too

  • Drive by Shooting Range with William Abernathy and Kimric Smyth

Comments: Some of the earliest commercial videos of Burning Man. See also Burning Man Festival 1994 for a full-length feature, which incorporates this footage.



Pop. 4,000; Cost $35; Theme (unofficial): Good and Evil

The Burning Man Festival 1995

(Release date: 1997, 39 min.)

Director & Producer: Joe Winston

includes 1995 and 1996 footage.

Amazon.com (DVD) (special edition includes this and Burning Man: Just Add Couches)

Includes interviews with Larry Harvey, John Law, and Dan Miller. Appearances by: Disgruntled Post Worker Camp; Art car camp; Drive-by Shooting Range; Flaming Rugby, and a rain storm.

Combined with Just Add Couches, the most complete view of what Burning Man looked like before the late 90s inflection point.

Strange Universe Goes to Burning Man



Pop. 8,000; Cost: $35; Theme: Inferno

Burning Man: Just Add Couches

(Release Date: 2001, 49 min.)

Director & Producer: Joe Winston

The story of creating the Couch Potato theme camp. A fairly interesting documentary, with the best Helco burn footage available. Some complain of the extensive voice over narration, however, it’s one of the few earlier documentaries that consist of something more than asking participants predictable questions.

Available from:
Amazon.com (DVD) (special edition includes this and Burning Man Festival 1995)


No Clemency for Wood

(Release date: 1996, 50 min)

Alex Bennett, a San Francisco broadcaster travel to the 1996 Burning Man and shares his creepy home videos with us. By minute 13 you realize that burns in the mid 90s involved far more blue jeans than one would expect. Either no clothing or street clothing is a common theme. There are blips of the stunning Fly Ranch hot springs that were open for visiting during the era. Dana Carvey’s brother shows up for a couple of times (the Wayne’s World character is based on his brother). Much of the video consists of extended shots of nudity, where participants don’t always seem thrilled at the filming. It makes one wonder if the title wasn’t a moronic double entendre.

Helco: Burning Man 1996 Ad

(Release date: 1996, 10 min)

This ad for the HELCO Corporation was first broadcast at SOMARTs Gallery in San Francisco in preparation for Burning Man 1996. It encouraged visitors to meet Papa Satan and experience the Soul Sucking Machine. The HELCO infomercial features the talents of Hal Robins a/k/a Dr. Hal (as Nick Scratch) and Annie Coulter (Burning Man Fashion Show) (as Lilith).

Helco by ChuckCirino

(Release date: 1996; 7 min)

Brief, but good quality footage of the 1996 Burn.



Pop. 10,000; Cost: $65; Theme: Fertility: The Living Land

Burning Man: Where's the Fire

(Released 1998, 57 min.)

Director: Fernando J. Velasquez

This well-made film follows the story of the creation of the Trojan Horse art project, but most of it simply shows various happenings at the Burn. At 14:40 you see Jim Mason’s Temporal Decomposition, the melting ice project. The Lamplighter ritual is shown, and has excellent footage of the raising and lighting of the Man. Idiot Flesh has a good segment. Future Primitive and his Agony of Man sculpture is briefly shown. The band Beyond Race performs as the horse burns.

Into the Heart of the Fire at the Burning Man Festival

(Release Date 1998, 90 min.)

Director: Dan Alexander

Producers: Tom Naygrow and Dan Alexander

Available on line from:
Amazon.com (VHS)


ABC Nightline Visits Burning Man



Pop. 15,000; Cost: $100; Theme: Nebulous Entity

The Eye of Rudra

Extended trailer. Full film not available for purchase or download.



Pop. 23,000; Cost: $100; Theme: Wheel of Time

Burning Man - Community or Chaos?

(Release date: 2000, 49 minutes)

A solid film, the British Channel 4 show was the first documentary to focus on the growing economic / class issues at Burning Man, and the changing nature of Burning Man from “chaos” to “community”.

Interviews with Larry Harvey, John Law, Chicken John (extensive but uncredited), Richard Peterson. Spencer Tunick, and DS Black

Brief appearances by Brad Weiners (Wired), Stuart Brand


And This One Time at Burning Man

(Release date: 2000, 35 mins.)

Playa Project (1999)