Spark: A Burning Man Story
Release Date: August 14, 2013
Director: Steve Brown, Jessie Deeter
Studio: Spark Pictures
Distributor: Paladin Films
Genre(s): Documentary, Special Interest
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes
What is Burning Man? Honestly…I can’t tell you because it is different for everyone that attends. In essence, Burning Man is an event that happens once a year for one whole week in the Black Rock Desert. For that week, Black Rock Desert turns into Black Rock City because a community of over 60,000 people turn that desert into a thriving metropolitan, relying on what they bring, or what they get from others. It’s a week of radical self-reliance, self-expression, participating, and creating a community of acceptance.
Burning Man was started in 1986 on a beach with a few people that burned a wooden man; 27 years later and it has grown to 60,000 people from all walks of life. If you do a fly over of Black Rock, you’ll see nothing, then you’ll see a city, after a week it’s gone. That’s the beauty of Burning Man; leaving no trace.
The documentary doesn’t really tell you everything about Burning Man…it’s not a guide to Burning Man, rather it is a 90 minute video telling you how it started and all the work it goes into setting up the event. It delves in a little of what Burning Man means, but the video sums it up as it’s something you have to experience.
The best part of this documentary that really gets you interested in Burning Man is Black Rock City itself and all the people. There are absolutely stunning displays of colors, lights, costumes and explosions…all against a stark white desert background. The weather is volatile but the people are all seem happy and enjoying themselves. There are artistic cars that people decorate (breathing dragons, giant rainbow cars, and all sorts of crazy inventions). This video shows you the parties that happen, the struggles that artists go through to get their artwork built and displayed, living in the desert for a week in a tent or RV, and just not caring about the 9-5 job life, but instead of just truly being yourself without any judgement.
Spark gives you those glimpses of what Burning Man could mean for you but it’s not something you step into lightly. Burning Man is a commitment and it’s not for the weak-hearted. If you go, you have to let it all out and embrace the community fully.
Final Thoughts: If you were ever curious about Burning Man, then this documentary is just the one to watch. It gives you enough information and visual wow to pique your interest. It shows the attendees commitment and how everyone focuses on the ten principles of Burning Man. It also gives you glimpses of the struggles to keep this huge event going from year to year. Even if you’ll never attend Burning Man, I would give this a watch to see the personalities of the people attending and all they have to bring.