Spark: A Burning Man Story

There is truly no way to capture the experience of Burning Man; many documentaries have tried, but it’s simply not possible. Sparks: A Burning Man Story doesn’t try to be the experience but rather relate the experience through different people’s stories. I’ve been to the event 5 times, served as a regional contact, run theme camps and performed in the Burning Man Fire Conclave. I can honestly say this might be my favorite documentary based around the event…

The images are fantastic. Ranging from the stark desert, to prepping on the streets of San Francisco to the peak of Black Rock City at its most intense height, even the dust storms, all of the best moments are there. The footage of the art work is particularly engaging to watch, I especially enjoyed the drone footage that was inserted throughout different highlights. The production quality here is great.

The stories of the film follow some of the artists that contribute their art projects to the scenery on the playa, alongside some theme camp organizers as well as the organizers from the event itself including many of the key founding members with interviews from: Larry Harvey, Crimson Rose, Marian Goodell, and Harley Dubois among others. The interviews are enlightening and entertaining with the variety of experiences and viewpoints.

One of the great aspects to the documentary (which is 90 minutes in length) is the historical backstory that’s included showing the early days of the event. The filmmakers got some great archival footage that includes the early days on Baker Beach in San Francisco as well as the 1996 events that scared the organization into having to institute some safety rules before there really were any.

If you’re interested in the event or just art in general, I can’t recommend this documentary enough, it’s on Netflix…

reviewed by Sean McKnight