Camp Beaverton: Meet the Beavers is a documentary film by Beth Nelsen and Ana Grillo, known on Playa respectively as Agent Nelsen and Ana Mission. Camp Beaverton is the only all-women, trans-inclusive, sex-positive camp at Burning Man to date.
Burning Man is a radical arts festival and social experiment held for 8 days in a desert in northern Nevada, USA. It creates a temporary city that is home to almost 60,000 people who live within the 10 principles that makes Burning Man’s collective philosophy. Black Rock City is the most unique adult playground in the world.
The Beavers create an experimental community camp that hosts hugely popular events. These events include play parties, clit-tail social hours, educational workshops, and the infamous Strap-on-a-thon, possibly the largest play party for women on the planet. They are a close community of queers, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered and straight women engaged in radical self expression, open communication and exploring their personal and sexual boundaries.
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“In retrospect, if someone asked me to come to the desert for two and a half weeks where it’s so hot you might never have an appetite; where there are duststorms that can last over 30 minutes that will make it impossible for you to see past your own nose; and that we’d be shooting a documentary in just a few days, to take place entirely in this desert which may permanently ruin our expensive shooting equipment; and that the subjects had yet to give their consent, I’d be dubious.” Says Director Ana Grillo.
“Add to the fact that this Camp we chose to follow is that of a sex-positive, queer theme camp where some people might not be out in the real world and may never want to see a camera within their living space in this desert, I’d probably tell you it is not possible to create this documentary, and most certainly not possible to pull out a feature. Alas, we went to Camp Beaverton, also known as the Home for Wayward Girls, to see what we could find.”
“Every fall, a city of 50,000 arises in Nevada’s isolated Black Rock Desert as Burning Man gets underway: eight days of a revolutionary social experiment in art, community, and self-expression. Ana Grillo and Beth Nelsen travel to the playa on a quest to delve deep into a subset of this radical population, the Beavers of Camp Beaverton—lesbian, bisexual, trans, genderqueer and beyond, who come together to commune and play. While Grillo is a Burning Man veteran, Nelsen is a Black Rock City virgin, and it is through her eyes that Camp Beaverton comes into focus as a place that puts the “wild” in this contemporary wild west with its notorious Strap-on-a-Thon sex-play party and its sex-ed tutorials open to both women and men. At the same time, the camp provides a safe and secure oasis for women to explore their sexuality or simply chill. This amiable documentary focuses on personalities rather than events, as Grillo and Nelsen explore what attracts women to Camp Beaverton in the first place: an open, supportive, and ever-growing sisterhood that just happens to be one of the biggest sexual playpens in the world.” -by Pam Grady for Frameline, SF