Burning Man Films
Pop. 2,000; Cost $30; No Theme
Burning Man Festival 1994
(Release date: 1995, 48 min.)
Director & Producer: Chuck Cirino
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
Compilation segment, with Chuck Cirino
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.
Amazon.com (DVD) (special edition includes this and Burning Man Festival 1995)
NOTE: NEEDS TO BE REBURNED FROM DVD
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).
1996 Helco video by Chuck Cirino
(Release date: 1996; 7 min)
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:
HAS BEEN RE DOWNLOADED - IN FCPX Currently
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”.
Brief appearances by Brad Weiners (Wired), Stuart Brand
NEEDS TO BE RE-FRAMED
And This One Time at Burning Man
(Release date: 2000, 35 mins.)
Pop. 25,400; Cost $200; Theme: The Body
(2001, 58 min.)
Director & Producer: Steven J. Payne aka Paynie
BurnBabyBurn doesn’t have much of a story thread, instead focusing on montages of playa happenings set to a variety of commercially successful songs not usually associated with BRC. Between montages BRC denizens quip with little insight about whey they attend Burning Man.
By 2000, much of the original vibe of Burning Man was morphing away, with the first real police and BLM presence noticeable. Dr. Megavolt is still featured, but guns and overtly dangerous pyrotechnics began to be replaced by larger scale art projects.
(2001, 28 mins.)
Director: Bill Breithaupt
Bill Breithaupt has gone on to create numerous Burning Man films, but got fire was his first, and is essentially a collage of film clips from his experiences at Burning Man 2000. There are no interview, nor any narrative. Most of the time the sound is a music track.
The film does a good job at showing many art exhibits and camps and capturing the general vibe of Burning Man 2000.
Good film of Thunderdome and Chaotic (the fire tether ball thingy), great film of Megavolt and a lot of fire dancers.
Pop. 25,659; Cost: $200; Theme: Seven Ages
Confessions of a Burning Man
(2002, 58 min.)
Directors & Producers: Un Su Lee & Paul Barnett
This Strange Eventful History: The Art of Burning Man 2001
(Release Date: 2002, 22 minutes)
A short non-narrative film about Burning Man 2001. The film includes nice footage of the temple and its burn. The rest of the film has generally slow paced footage of other art projects and happenings, as well as extended video of photographs with Ken Burns style effects, If you have a sentimental attachment to 2001, worth a watch.
(2003, 45 min.)
Covers 2001 and 2002
Director: Dearbhla Glynn
Producer: Aprile Blake
The film includes interviews with Larry Harvey and David Best (temple designer).
Much of the film is footage of BM 2001/02 punctuated by participants explaining their interpretation of BM. However, the interviews with David Best and the temple materials by themselves make the film well worth watching.
(Release date: 2001, 22 mins.)
Another Bill Breithaupt film documenting the events at Burning Man 2001. Unfortunately the video upload has significant artifacts; hopefully he will upload a high quality version at some point.
As in his earlier effort, got fire?, there is no narrative, just video of the various art project and people at Burning Man 2001. The following year he goes on to release Aqua Burn, a high quality, high resolution film.
Pop. 28,979; Cost: $200; Theme: The Floating World
Black Rock Burning
(Release Date: 2003, 30 mins.)
Director: Kim Barr; Producer: Aleece Germana & Kim Barr
Familiar playa - participant interview - playa format. The launch of the Spanish Galleon is described (its demise is documented here). The Temple of Joy and it’s architect David Best is well covered. The film does a nice job to briefly show many of the art projects that year, and covers the Burning Man Fashion Show, hosted by Annie Coulter. one of the longest running BM traditions. The Death Guild’s Thunderdome gets the obligatory coverage. Overall, a well-made film.
Fall and Rise of the Fool's Ark
(Release date: 2003, 43 min.)
Essentially an extended surrealistic music video, with film of the construction of Dadara's Fool's Ark art and Burning Greymen installation at Burning Man.
Much of the film is animation featuring greymen images, with a loose fictional story. Original and entertaining for those who like these type of videos…the first five minutes will tell you whether you’ll enjoy the project.
Nothing Without You
(2004, 51 min.)
Directors & Producers: Ted Mattison & Paul Kelleher
Available on line from:
Nothing without You
Ted Mattison heads to Black Rock City with nothing (entirely naked). Over the next few days people donate everything he needs to survive Burning Man, all of which he must gather without leaving his “camp”. Once he wanders BRC we see glimpses of Megavolt, Thunderdome and the other often featured projects of BM 2002.
WHISTLEWORKS: The Steam Whistle Project at Burning Man 2002
(Release Date: 2002, 15 min.)
Producer: The Burning Chicagoans
(Release Date: 2002, 34 min.)
Director: Bill Breithaupt; Producer: Bill Breithaupt & Diane Buteux
Available on line from:
Bill Breithaupt’s first full-fledged documentary features some of the best filmed images of BRC to date. In playa-participant-playa format, it features high-quality video of the 2002 event. Sisyphish (the Swimmers) is well covered as is Fire Vortex, Nathan Smith’s fire tornado. Good footage of skydiving into BRC.
FireFall: Road to Burning Man
In a six month journey that brings to life a fire fountain sculpture, the community acclaimed, "Firefall: Road to Burning Man" is a feature length documentary chronicling the creation of a mesmerizing work of art from its conception to its unveiling.
Director: Robert Henrickson
Note: Download and put into a singe video. Each is short, time lapsed photography
Available on line from:
Folding Time (2002 & 2003)
Pop. 30,586; Cost: $200; Theme: Beyond Belief
Burning Man: Voyage in Utopia
DVD ON THE WAY
(2003, 23 min.)
Beyond Belief: The Art & People of Burning Man 2003
Pop. 35,664; Cost: $250; Theme: The Vault of Heaven
Dust & Illusions
(2009; 80 mins.)
Director & Producer: Olivier Bonin
Arguably the best documentary to tell the story of Burning Man.
The film traces the history from the Suicide Club, Cacophony Society and Burning Man’s roots. Includes fantastic early footage and excellent interview.
Astro Blaze (2004)
The Vault of Heaven: The Art & People of Burning Man 2004
Psyche: The Art & People of Burning Man 2005
The Art and People of Burning Man 2005
The art and people of the Burning Man Festival 2005 by Lenny Jones and Claudia Rose. This video features a special Hurricane Katrina tribute performance by Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping as well as Singer Joan Baez. Music by Cirque Du Soleil "Solarium/Delirium"
Pop. 38,989; Cost $280; Theme: Hope and Fear: The Future
Burning Man: Journey to the Flames
(Various release dates from 1998 on)
Director: Doug Jacobson
Since 1998 Doug Jacobson and his crew have been releasing coverage of Burning Man. Many years are very hard to find these days.
Pop. 47,097; Cost: $280; Theme: The Green Man
Burn on the Bayou
The Green Man: The Art & People of Burning Man 2007
As the Dust Settles
A Burning Dream
American Dream: The Art & People of Burning Man 2008
Pop. 43,558; Cost: $360; Theme: Evolution: A Tangled Bank
Evolution I & 2
Encountering Burning Man
Pop. 51,525; Cost $360; Theme: Metropolis – Life of Cities
Journey to the Flames: 2010
Burning Man 2010
Pop. 53,963; Cost: $360; Rites of Passage
Journey to the Flames: 2011
15 Minutes of Flame
Beyond Belief: Honeymoon at Burning Man
https://www.reelhouse.org/gravenimagefilms/beyond-belief-honeymoon-at-burning-man (maybe a better copy?)
Black Rock Horse
Four part video online: http://breakingwave.ca/videos/page/4/
Pop. 56,149; $420; Theme: Fertility 2.0
Journey to the Flames: 2012
RT The Burning Man Festival
(Released 2013; 51 minutes)
RT's documentary Burning Man 2012.
The show starts by featuring The King, who runs The King's Light Up Coats and Royal Robes. (The King's brick and mortar store closed in 2015, but his online stores are going strong: https://www.etsy.com/shop/lightupcoats)
A solid look at Burning Man, loosely following the King but more generally interviewing participants about the meaning of the event and its various aspects.
Spark: A Burning Man Story
One of the slickest documentaries also thoughtfully addresses the philosophical issues that accompanied the growth of Burning Man, including the conflict between the freedom associated with early events and the structure of the modern event, and the rise of plug n’ play camps, and the challenge they pose to the fundamental nature of the event.
Overall, one of the best films to both address substantive issues facing Burning Man and some of the highest quality modern interviews and historic footage.
Burning Man and the Meaning of Life
Pop. 69,613; Cost: $380; Theme: Cargo Cult
A Burning Man Story: Preconceived Notions
Burning Man: Beyond the Playa (KQED This Week)
(Release date 2013, 8 minutes)
Brief news story on Burning Man 2013
Tech Crunch Interview with Larry Harvey and John Perry Barlow
Larry Harvey is the main co-founder of the Burning Man festival, while John Perry Barlow is a former lyricist for the Grateful Dead and a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Interviewed by TechCruch at Le Web London aboutthe intellectual underpinnings of startup entreprepreneurship have parallels with Burning Man in what might be their first ever joint interview.
Pop. 65,922; Cost $380; Theme: Caravansary
Taking My Parents to Burning Man
24 Hours at Burning Man: 2014
Larry Harvey on Charlie Rose
67,564; Cost $390; Theme: Carnival of Mirrors
24 Hours at Burning Man: 2015
67,290; Cost: $390; Theme: DaVinci's Workshop
Burning Man: A Journey Through the Playa
Pop. 69,493; Cost: $345; Theme: Radical Ritual
City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man
Surrender - Burning Man 2017
Pop. 70,000; Cost: $425; Theme: I Robot