Not the first Burning Man documentary, but purportedly the first "sanctioned and supported" by that annual event's founders, "Confessions of a Burning Man" is an awkward combination of so-so overview and vanity project. Barring self-distribution, prospects for further exposure look wan.

Not the first Burning Man documentary, but purportedly the first “sanctioned and supported” by that annual event’s founders, “Confessions of a Burning Man” is an awkward combination of so-so overview and vanity project. Better introductions to this unique counterculture happening are already kicking around. This not particularly well shot/organized feature isn’t very engaging on the human level, either. Barring self-distribution, prospects for further exposure look wan.

Project appears largely instigated by participation of heiress Anna Getty and her actress friend Samantha Weaver (both co-producers), who get plenty of screentime to discuss their past traumas and hopes for personal spiritual evolution. Other two principals — macho cab driver Michael Winaker and black ex-con Kevin Epps — seem included to provide “diversity.” None provide notable insights during the 10-day art-and-excess blowout in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Other, more typical Burning Man types do give insights, but they’re only interviewed in passing. Shots of quartet walking in slow-mo toward camera like a U2 video, and Weaver getting an on-camera marriage proposal further call into question pic’s raison d’etre. Considering all visual spectacle on tap, vid lensing is often notably poor.

Confessions of a Burning Man

Production

A Hotbed Film production. Produced by Paul Barnett, Un Su Lee. Co-producers, Michael Gibson, Anna Getty, Jonathan Miller, Lily Ng, Samantha Weaver. Directed by Un Su Lee, Paul Barnett.

Crew

Camera (color, vid), Lee, Jeffrey Chu; editor, Robbie Proctor. Reviewed at Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose, March 7, 2003. Running time: 86 MIN.
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