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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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




Not Rated


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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 of the Fest
3 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

So there I am, at the Idaho International Film Festival. My movie is screening and I am stoked. I look through the program to see if I would like to watch any flicks over the weekend.... nope, not really. Then "Dust and Illusions" pops up and I become interested because it seems to be about the exact things that make me not want to attend Burning Man-- religious nuts and cum guzzling hippis.... easily the most effective film I have seen in years and the only good movie of the entire IIFF (beside my own--and that I saw).

It surpassed my anticipation of being a documentary about "Burning Man" and reached out to me on a deeply personal level, referring to the evolution of religion and money grubbing doctrine. Coming from a staunch Southern Baptist upbringing... this was inspiring.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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