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. 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.
Ana Grillo and I met at San Francisco's Frameline Film Festival in 2012 where she was photographing for the festival and I was representing Elka Kerkhof's, THE CONFESSION OF FATHER JOHN THOMAS, whom I met in film school years prior in Australia. We immediately hit it off and knew our connection could be a great professional match. She had been asked by Burning Man headquarters to make another annual short video to highlight the spirit of volunteerism, known as the Love Project. She told them she needed help. They granted me a position as well and off we went to Black Rocky City, where we also documented Center Camp. It was insane covering 2 camps, but we quickly established a great working rapport, and in my "down time," I was able to spend time with the Beavers, letting them get to know me so we could gain their confidence. This worked very well. Ana referred to me as the Agent Nelsen, Beav Charmer Extraordinaire, and with her running between the two camps, I referred to her as Ana Mission. Days later, Beavers were coming to us wanting to be filmed and with the combination of our charm and skills, we were able to bring you the Beavers.
-Beth Nelsen, Co-Director
CAMP BEAVERTON: MEET THE BEAVERS