AquaBurn, is an award-winning documentary film by director Bill Breithaupt showcasing "The Floating World" theme of the 2002 Burning Man Festival. Aqua Burn features many of the incredible Burning Man art installations, the imagination and originality that went into their creation, and the artists who conceived them. Unlike conventional documentaries on the Burning Man Festival, Aqua Burn captures the true feeling and excitement of the event itself, transporting the viewer to a hot, dusty wonderland without ever leaving home.
AquaBurn Burning Karma AstroBlaze Are You Lost?
Aqua Burn introduces you to artists like Peter Hudson, who created Sisyphish, a life-size 3D zoetrope of a swimmer, Nate Smith, who conjures a 20 ft. fire tornado, David Best & his crew’s 78 ft. Temple of Joy - a tribute to 9/11, Deirdre DeFranceaux’s beautiful sculpture of singing sirens, Shane Rogers and the Sky People show off their sky diving skills over Black Rock City, Terry Shreck’s glowing metal sculpture Beacon, and Kiki Petit’s incredible fire waterfall Egeria.
Bill Breithaupt is proud to presents his award winning film AquaBurn
For those who know, No explanation is necessary,
For those who don't, No explanation is possible.
Burning Man Head of Media Operations, Jim Graham offered Bill Breithaupt a spot in the 1st annual Burning Man Film Festival held in Santa Cruz, CA. Jumping at the opportunity Breithaupt headed to Burning Man for his fourth year in a row, filming the entire week as usual. Aside from the beautiful time-lapse footage and cinematic shots he’s known for, he also captured some fantastic insight from his fellow burners.
"AquaBurn, rocked my world!" - Maid Marian (Mistress of Communications, Burning Man LLC)
"Thank you for creating such an excellent film" - Jim Graham (Media Team Operations, Burning Man LLC)
"Thanks for creating something beautiful" - Andie Grace / Action Girl (Communications Dept, Burning Man LLC)
Los Angeles - Beverley Hills - Film Festival (Best Director)
Click to see Bill Breithaupt's Bio
Coney Island Film Festival (Best Documentary)
Action Cut Film Festival (Special Jury Award)
Click to follow Bill Breithaupt on INSTAGRAM
AquaBurn: Official screenings
Beverley Hills Film Festival (Best Director)
Coney Island Film Festival (Best Documentary)
Action Cut Film Festival (Special Jury Award)
London Burning Man Film Festival (Headlined)
New York International Independent Film Festival
Santa Cruz Burning Man film Festival (Standing Ovation)
I LOVED your film. It was the most comprehensive visual collection I have ever seen of the event. I've been a staff member with Emergency Services Department of the event for 6 years now and explaining what the event is like to family members and friends who haven't been is just difficult as all hell. For probably the first time ever, somebody has done what I thought impossible through a camera. The work you did is unparalleled and it made me miss the playa in so many ways.' I'd love to have a list of music credits , It went so well with the images and stirred my soul.
You're a video-god. Don't let anybody tell you different. - Greg (Emergency Services, Burning Man)
You may not be able to see this but know that I am standing in front of my computer applauding my ass off for your film. You REALLY captured the essence of the event. The Gregorian chant music mated perfectly with the images. Since the event is more spiritual to me than anything else, this really hit home with me. Bravo Bravo BRAVO !!!
I just got it today, watched it immediately and it made me cry. It is so beautiful, fun, filled with wonderful images and memories. I liked how you focused on the artist building their installations. Plus it's so great to see all my old friends smiling and loving it. You have done a wonderful job. I wish I could give you a big hug !!
I was lucky enough to see your film Aqua Burn at the film festival this weekend and I loved it. I had my whole family there (my wife, twin 7 year old boys who are 5 year Burning Man attendees and my 2 year old daughter who is a 2 year Burning Man attendee ) and we all loved it. My 2 year old went NUTS for the film and still talks about it. She was SO excited to see it because she really remembered the images that she saw - she kept saying "I saw that," "I remember that," and "there is Burning Man." She was so THRILLED to see those images that I cannot describe the excitement and joy that your film brought to her and our family.
I'm so impressed... I watched AquaBurn with my mom and little (7yo) sister tonight after a stressful day ! My mom and I REALLY enjoyed your film. So now my little sister is going on and on about how she's going to the Burn with me this year and how "it was kinda sad when the man fell, but then the people get to build a new one, and it's like when an old person dies and a new person is born." god love her. She makes life seem so simple... how humbling to have that kind of honest perspective around me all the time. I cannot say THANK YOU enough.
Your film is gorgeous! A documentary that really lets the images & sounds speak for themselves. The music was perfect, really heightens the imagery to that same spiritual level one experiences when there. I was totally brought back to the playa. THANK YOU so much.
Wishing you all the best on your creative endeavors. - Kat
I just had tell you that I finally sat down to watched Aqua Burn this weekend and loved it! I didn't get too far into it before I started to cry. I can't remember now what exactly triggered it but wow.. such good footage. I like that it's mostly visual with snippet of talk because that's what it really comes down to. The mental images left in your mind. I want to tell/show people your video. Thanks so much for it was my first year!
Great job with the film!!! I really loved it; it was different from the other 'documentary' type films (which after back to back viewings started to seem the same). What you are able to accomplish in 4 weeks blows away the stuff that takes people a year or more.
Aqua Burn Kicks Ass ! - Shane R. (Burning Man Skydiver)
I just saw the film Aqua burn, it's fantastic. Both my housemates and my girlfriend agree, it's a keeper. I especially liked your choice of music, and the segment with the dog ! Can't wait to see what you cook up next...
Well done, and many thanks ! - Jeremy Lutes (Burning ManArtist: The Lily Pond)
Thank you so much for your beautiful film. This was my first year at Burning Man, and even though I'm a bit prejudiced by the fact that I actually have a connection to everything portrayed, I still think this was one of the most captivating films about the event ever made. It was so beautiful to watch... Combined with the music, I got pretty overwhelmed and teary-eyed. I have shown and will show it to many of my friends in Seattle.
Everyone agrees it's beautiful and touching. - Katrina
WOW!!!!!!!!! I'm very impressed. So is everyone from our camp. Tonight I'm going to show your film to 20 of my women friends, many were on the playa and many others are interested in going. I'm sure after seeing your beautiful film, they will be convinced. Tomorrow is our camps (camp biscuit) decompression party. I will also show your film there. Most of our camp already saw it at the Rio, but all have reported that they can't wait to see it again.
We are burners from California who acquired your wonderful piece of art (Aqua Burn) last year... We show it always to new burners or people who are curious. We have all the videos and documentaries and yours is the best!! We know it by heart...so many of our friends have been encouraged by it to attend Burning Man. Your editing, ideas, and masterful photography has had such a huge impact. We are sure many have told you these things, but just wanted to add our comments to all the praise!!!!
Thank you for such a wonderful contribution. - Pat and Marilyn
WOW, I just love Aqua Burn! Great job! I have seen every Burning Man movie and internet video there is, some serve different purposes, some are good to show people who have never been, others are good to show your mom. Yours however, is the most inducing - incredible - flashback footage ever ! Take it from a seasoned Burner, your film delivers a taste of the true Burning Man vibe.
It's because of your rockin editing that I put your film at # 1 !
I saw your note in the JRS about the showing of your film in NY and I was reminded that I've wanted to thank you. You gave me a copy of AquaBurn one night out on the playa, near the giant chandelier after a couple had just been married there. After the Temple burn I drove home to Portland Oregon and practically the first thing we did was watch AquaBurn. (I just wanted to go right back) That was my first burn, now I have this video to show friends and family that is actually from a year I was there. I want to thank you because I can watch it now whenever I need to be reminded what a community can be, even when mine here does not seem so wonderful. I remember that I have to bring BRC home with me. In order to make my community what I know it can be, I must PARTICIPATE. So thank you so much! Of all the playa gifts I have been given AquaBurn is the gift that keeps on giving.
I was the lucky recipient of two of your Burning Man videos, 2001 and 2002.
I think your movies are the best I've seen, really give a great sense of what it's like out there. I get a thrill every time I watch them, and I've showed the Aqua Burn one to many friends, sometimes it's the final convincing straw to get them to come with me. I'd love to find you, and return some sort of nice gift for all the times I've watched your gift.........
I received the DVD last Friday and I love it! Burning Karma and Are You Lost are also great additions to Aqua Burn. I'm part of the Burning Man regional group here in Nova Scotia and we will be using your DVD at our information meetings for those curious about attending Burning Man. - Iain
I have to tell you, every time I have second thoughts about going out to the playa this year, all I have to do is watch one of your films, and there's no question that I'll be going.
You rock! - Travis
When Bill returned home he locked himself in his studio and edited, determined to make his best film yet. With only three weeks between the end of Burning Man 2002 and the day of the film festival, he began burning the midnight oil, editing 14-16 hours straight, rarely sleeping. At the end of this crazy schedule Breithaupt had edited a total of 180 hours, and was off to the festival without having slept for two days straight.
Breithaupt then logged a additional grueling 620 hours of editing time and then AquaBurn was finally complete. It also received approval for sale from the Burning Man Organization, granted to only a few select films. In a meeting with Maid Marian, Burning Man Org Mistress of Communications, she said "AquaBurn rocks my world!"
Bill Breithaupt receiving his award for "BEST DIRECTOR of a Documentary" at the LA FIlm, TV & Webisode Festival
(Formally known as the Beverly Hills TV & New Media Festival)
The final result was the film AquaBurn. The 300 + audience that packed into the Rio Theater that day were awed. At the end of the film they cheered, then quieted to watch all the credits, and then cheered again, rising to give Breithaupt a standing ovation (at the end of which he thanked his mom). True to form, he filmed the audience’s enthusiastic reaction, and was even quoted as saying "it was one of the best moments of my life"
Write-up in the ASIFA Newsletter (The International Animation Association)
Bill Breithaupt receives a STANDING OVATION at the premiere of his film AquaBurn
Spring of 2004 was a busy time for Bill Breithaupt. AquaBurn was an official selection in the New York International Film & Video Festival, which he attended. After spending a week in New York promoting the film, he flew straight to London for the first international Burning Man Film Festival. A more perfect venue couldn’t have been chosen than the über-hip Ritzy Theater in Brixton. Breithaupt was stoked to find out upon his arrival at the theater that AquaBurn was headlining the London Burning Man Film Festival. At the raging after-party at the Brixtonian Breithaupt bumped into Larry Harvey, founder of Burning Man (who has been known to comment "AquaBurn, yeah, we like that one").
In July of 2004 AquaBurn also headline The Burning Man Film Festival held at the Raven Theater in Healdsburg, CA. AquaBurn was once again earning recognition in the film festival circuit. The 2004 Action/Cut Short Film Festival screened and judged nearly one thousand films on the parameters of: subject originality, content realization, visual-storytelling, production values and viewing engagement of work. Having gone through such thorough scrutiny, AquaBurn received the Special Jury Award for Documentary.
Burning Man Aquaburn Trailer
An onslaught of film festivals followed. In November that year AquaBurn headlined the Under the Couch Film Festival in Newport Beach, CA. In December it was shown as a Special Selection Kiosk Film at the Hi Mom! Film Festival in North Carolina. In February 2006 AquaBurn was chosen for the new Cinequest Online Film Festival.
AquaBurn was chosen as an official selection of the Flint Film Festival in May of 2005, and the Crested Butte Reel Festival in August. In September of 2005 Bill Breithaupt made the trip to New York once again. AstroBlaze was an official selection of the Coney Island Short Film Festival, making it the third consecutive year that one of his films had been chosen by this film festival. Founder Rob Leddy put on a fantastic film festival, with a smashing pre-fest party including a freaky side show & engaging burlesque performances. It was an honor for Breithaupt to attend the festival and present the film to such an eager and appreciative audience. Also attending the festival to support AstroBlaze was one of the stars of the film, Kate Raudenbush.
In 2003 Bill Breithaupt was again asked by Burning Man Head of Media Operations Jim Graham to create another film, this time to headline the 2nd Burning Man Film Festival in Santa Cruz, leaving him only one month between Burning Man and the film festival to edit a new film. With less than two weeks till Santa Cruz, Bill took some time off from his grueling editing schedule to attend the Coney Island Short Film Festival in New York. Not only was AquaBurn an official selection in the festival, but it won the title of Best Documentary Short Film. Returning home with a cleared mind, Breithaupt resumed his editing schedule and completed Burning Karma the very morning of the Santa Cruz Burning Man Film Festival.
Director Bill Breithaupt is proud to present in its entirety his award winning film Burning Karma
Burning Man 2003
Burning Karma is darker and more intense than its predecessor, AquaBurn, yet it maintains a focus on the incredible art installations of the year's theme (Beyond Belief). Following many of the artists from AquaBurn, we see Terry Schrek’s project "In God’s Hands", Peter Hudson’s return with Sisyphish, David Best’s Temple of Honor, plus sky diving footage from Brian Burke & the Sky People, all set to classical music and hypnotic techno beats. In February of 2007 Burning Karma was chosen to be the only film shown as part of the exhibit "Burning Man & Beyond" hosted for one month by the Santa Rosa Junior College.
A few weeks later Head of Burning Man Media Operations Jim Graham once again offered Bill Breithaupt a spot in the 3rd and final Burning Man Film Festival in Santa Cruz. Breithaupt set out for the playa as usual, for his 6th consecutive year. While he was at Burning Man that year, Breithaupt was greeted with the news of his win when he returned home from Burning Man 2004. As if that weren’t encouragement enough, Burning Karma was also beginning to gain notoriety. For the second year in a row one of his Burning Man films, this time Burning Karma, was an official selection in the Coney Island Short Film Festival. Rather than trying to make the trip to New York just days before the Santa Cruz Burning Man Film Festival this year he decided to stay home and edit AstroBlaze.
Director Bill Breithaupt is proud to present in its entirety his award winning film AstroBlaze
Burning Man 2004
AstroBlaze, like its prequels, was edited in under a month and premiered at the 3nd annual Santa Cruz Burning Man Film Festival. A mellow, reflective piece, the film focuses on returning artist Peter Hudson and his mind-blowing life-size 3D zoetrope Deeper. Nate Smith’s project, the Singularity Machine, (the fire vortex from 2002 perfected) also gains attention. In the film we are introduced to new artist Kate Raudenbush and her project Observer/Observed, a 10’ x 10’ cube of 2 way mirrors that gives it’s entrants a new perspective. Another new artist featured is David Biggs and his project Constellations, a participatory piece invoking a deeper look at the ties that connect Burning Man participants to one an"
"ARE YOU LOST" is an award winning 5 min short film that combines several years of Burning Man into one short film. "ARE YOU LOST" won 3rd place in the URD online film festival..
Director Bill Breithaupt is proud to present in its entirety his award winning film Are You Lost?
Burning Man 1999,2000,2001,2002,2003
Although not the first Burning Man film by Bill Breithaupt, AquaBurn has become the most popular. Breithaupt is a seventeen year Burning Man veteran, having attended and filmed the festival since 1999, when he ventured out to the playa for the first time and was blown away at whathe experienced. Returning home he couldn’t stop talking about how amazing Burning Man was. Realizing that he never could quite convey the experience to others through words, he decided to express it through film, a medium he’s been working with for over 30 years. Breithaupt hunkered down and spent hours editing his footage into a film, The Burning Man Project, which featured Dr. Megavolt. When he came back to the playa the following year he brought with him 100 copies of Playa Project to gift to his fellow burners. This became his annual tradition, filming, editing and returning the next year with films to gift on the playa.
The Burning Man Project
Director Bill Breithaupt is proud to present in its entirety his award winning film The Burning Man Project
Burning Man 1999
In 2000 Breithaupt started screening his films at Flambé Lounge, a pre-Burning Man party held in San Francisco. At Club Cocomo he gave the video jockey a copy of Playa Project, which was promptly played on the screens in the club. It was a hit with the crowd, hailed as "hip, new, and exciting". The next year at Flambé Lounge they showcased his film, Got Fire? from Burning Man 2000.
Director Bill Breithaupt is proud to present in its entirety his award winning film Got Fire?
Burning Man 2000
There was electricity in the air as people embraced the year’s upcoming theme The Floating World at the Flambé Lounge Blue Ball in 2002. Breithaupt showed his 2001 film PlayaScape, and the crowd was ecstatic, cheering in unison as the credits rolled.
Director Bill Breithaupt is proud to present his award winning film PlayaScape
Burning Man 2001
Director Bill Breithaupt is proud to presents his award winning film Time Blur
Burning Man 2012
Drown in the NOW!
Director Bill Breithaupt is proud to present in its entirety his award winning film Drown in the NOW!
Burning Man 2015
Although not the first Burning Man film by Bill Breithaupt, AquaBurn has become the most popular. Breithaupt is a thirteen year Burning Man veteran, having attended and filmed the festival since 1999, when he ventured out to the playa for the first time and was blown away at whathe experienced. Returning home he couldn’t stop talking about how amazing Burning Man was. Realizing that he never could quite convey the experience to others through words, he decided to express it through film, a medium he’s been working with for over 30 years. Breithaupt hunkered down and spent hours editing his footage into a film, Playa Project, which featured Dr. Megavolt. When he came back to the playa the following year he brought with him 100 copies of Playa Project to gift to his fellow burners. This became his annual tradition, filming, editing and returning the next year with films to gift on the playa.
The AquaBurn Trilogy DVD includes the perennial award winning film AquaBurn, plus additional Burning Man films Burning Karma, Astro