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Dust & Illusions (2009)

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Once a year, on a vast Nevada lake bed surrounded by mountains and for the past 20 years, the Burning Man festival brings together tens of thousands of people who are attracted by the ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry James ...
Burning Man Co-Founder / Carpenter
Larry Harvey ...
Burning Man Co-Founder and Executive Director
John Law ...
Burning Man Co-Founder / Cacophonist
Michael Mikel ...
Burning Man Co-Founder and Director
Michael Hopkins ...
Kevin Evans ...
William Binzen ...
Artist / Photographer
Charlie Gadeken ...
Artist / Boxshop Artists Studios' Director
Pepe Ozan ...
Artist / Sculptor
Chicken John ...
Event Promoter
Adrian Roberts ...
Newspaper Editor / Piss Clear Editor
Marian Goodell ...
Burning Man Communication and Finance Director
Rebecca Randers ...
Artist / Flaming Lotus Girls
James Stauffer ...
Writer / Flaming Lotus Girls
Jim Mason ...
Artist / Shipyard Artists Studios' Director


Once a year, on a vast Nevada lake bed surrounded by mountains and for the past 20 years, the Burning Man festival brings together tens of thousands of people who are attracted by the festival's promise of seven days of de-commodification, community, artwork, and revelry. But increasingly, many question whether Burning Man's mainstream appeal threatens - or even upends - the festival's utopian vision. Through a series of in-depth interviews of the festival's founders, organizers, and participants, DUST & ILLUSIONS traces the festival's history, while examining whether the festival is a victim of its own success. The documentary also offers a new perspective about the event, and looks at our ability as human beings to create new forms of community in the 1st century. Written by Madnomad Films

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30 years of history of the Burning Man festival from its origins in the late 1970s until today




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Release Date:

28 March 2009 (USA)  »

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$163,000 (estimated)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Charlie Gadeken' mentions that Desert Siteworks happened the year previous to Burning Man. He meant that Desert Siteworks actually happened during the year before Burning Man. Historically Desert Siteworks, which was organized by William Binzen & Judy West and many others including John Law, first happened in April 1992 at Black Rock Hot Springs, then in 1993 at Trego Hot Springs, and finally in 1994 at Frog Pond (Bordello) Hot Springs. All these hot springs are located on the edge of the Black Rock Desert flats (playa). See more »

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User Reviews

best burning man film by far
24 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Dust and illusions is a balanced, informative and entertaining look at the Burning Man event and its growth from a small group of friends burning an effigy on a beach to the full on insanity and loveliness of a monster party in the desert with fascinating art revelry. Bonin has been five years making this film and knows the event well and has unearthed great archival footage of the early days which few people have seen. If you have any curiosity about why people go to the desert for this event don't miss this film.

This film shed light on some of the issues that have arisen as the event has grown and as the role of large funded art installations have grown in importance. It gives us differing views on whether the event is still true to the values it has espoused, It leaves you the viewer to judge that yourself.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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