"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
JUNE 12, 2016 Screening in Oakland at the New Parkway Theater
GAY FILM NIGHTS International Film Festival, SERILE FILMULUI GAY International Film Festival
Cluj-Napoca, Romania, November 10-16, 2014.
FRINGE! Queer Film & Arts Fest, London, England, November 6-9, 2014.
Vinokino LGBT Film Festival, Helsinki, Finland, November 7-9, 2014.
Vinokino LGBT Film Festival, Turku, Finland, October 24-26, 2014.
Porn Film Festival, Berlin, Germany, October 22-26, 2014.
Women Make Waves FF, Taipei City, Taiwan, October 17-26, 2014.
29th MIX Copenhagen, Denmark, October 3-12, 2014.
Muestra Internacional de Cine con Perspectiva de Género-MICGénero, Mexico City, Mexico, Sept 27, 2014.
Muestra Internacional de Cine con Perspectiva de Género-MICGénero, Mexico City, Mexico, Sept 16, 2014.
North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian FF, Shreveport, LA, September 5-11, 2014.
Feminized Presents with Missy Magazine & Mobile Kino, Berlin, Germany, Sept 2, 2014.
GAZE International LGBT Film Festival, Dublin, Ireland, July 31-August 5, 2014.
TLVFest, Tel Aviv, Israel, June 2014.
Asterisco, First Int'l LGBTQ Film Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 2014.
Out Takes Film Festival New Zealand: Auckland, Wellington, & Christchurch, May-June 2014.
Athens Outview Film Festival, Greece, May 2014.
Queer City Cinema, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, May 2014.
Fairy Tales International Queer Film Festival, Calgary, Canada, May 2014.
In & Out LGBT Film Festival, Nice, France, May 3, 2014.
Pink Apple, Zürich & Frauenfeld, Switzerland, April-May 2014.
Cologne International Women's Film Festival, Germany, April 2014
Imago Film, Warsaw, Poland, April 2014.
Brisbane Queer Film Festival, Australia, March 29, 2014.
Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Australia, March 17, 2014.
Elles tissent la toile du Nord au Sud, Charleroi, Belgium, March 2014.
Bangalore Queer Film Festival, India, March 1, 2014.
Mardi Gras Film Festival, Sydney, Australia, February 2014.
Desperado LGBT Film Festival, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, January 18, 2014.
Brussels, Belgium, Pink Screens Film Festival, November 14, 2013.
Paris Lesbian Feminist Film Festival, Cineffable, Paris, France, October 31 & November 2, 2013.
Hannover, Germany, Perlen Film Festival, October 25, 2013.
Seattle, Washington, Two Dollar Bill Cinema, October 20, 2013.
Hamburg, Germany, Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage, October 18, 2013.
Ellsworth, Maine 3rd Annual LGBT Film Festival, October 2013.
Stockholm, Sweden Cinema Queer International Film Festival, September 21, 2013.
Palm Springs, CA, Cinema Diverse Film Festival, September 21, 2013.
Some Prefer Cake, Bologna Lesbian Film Festival, Bologna, Italy, September 18, 2013.
Gender Documentary Film Festival, Rome, Italy. August 29, 2013.
Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada, August 2013.
Rio Cinema de Gay Film Festival, Rio, Brazil, June 2013. 5 screenings. AWARDED Jury Official Special Award.
Frameline37, San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, USA, June 23, 2013 (SOLD OUT) WORLD PREMIERE.
July 15, 2013 Camp Beaverton: Meet the Beavers wins an Official Special Jury Award in Rio! By popular demand, they showed 5 screenings of Meet the Beavers during the festival. We were a big hit in Rio!
February 22, 2014 BEAVERS are featured at NYC's Monthly Party, GIRLS ON FILM, hosted by Veronica Heffron:
February 14, 2014 LOTL Article: http://www.lotl.com/gay-lesbian-giveaways-aus-nz/tickets/CAMP-BEAVERTON-MEET-THE-BEAVERS/
READ THE INTERVIEW IN IT'S ENTIRETY HERE, INCLUDING A SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO ANNA MARGARITA ALBELO:
INTERVIEW with Beth Nelsen – Director
Tell us about your film.
Our film is about the only all-women's, trans-inclusive, sex-positive camp at Burning Man, in a nutshell. Ana is a longtime Burner and former Beaver and so she told me about the Beavers, basically by telling me about her time spent as the "Mister Fister" a few years ago, where she misted the teacher giving a fisting workshop. She can expand on this better, I'm sure, but basically she first tried to sell me on the sexuality of the camp and proposed that we attempt to shoot the Beavers in their natural habitat at Burning Man, an 8-day arts festival that happens in the Nevada desert, attracting over 50,000 people every year. I was dubious as all I knew about Burning Man was that it was a bit of a rave scene; I'm not a fan of drugs and really didn't think it was for me, so I politely turned her down. Again, she called me saying, "I have an extra ticket to Burning Man and everyone wants it, but I think you should come." I turned her down again, and again she asked, and I finally caved in, and off we went. We had media passes and were scheduled for early arrival and so we spent 16 days in the dirtiest, driest, hottest desert I've ever inhabited. We brought out 3 cameras and I ended up putting my good one away, only using it for one shoot because it was obvious that the environment would destroy it quickly. It was not easy, but ultimately, it turned out to be a wonderful experience and I am convinced Burning Man is possibly the greatest art show on the planet. As for the Beavers, I spent a great deal of time at their camp getting to know them- BUT- there is a back story: Ana had been working for BM in the past, making 5 minute videos to highlight the spirit of volunteerism, also known as the Love Project; she had done this alone the year prior and told them that it was way too much work for one person. In 2012, the year we went, they gave her 2 tickets and this is how I came onto the scene, first spending a great deal of time at Center Camp as they prepped for the arrival of the masses, then getting to know the Beavers as they trickled into the desert. She named me Agent Nelsen and I named her Ana Mission, and off we went as Agents of Love to attempt to capture both Center Camp and the Beavers. Privacy was a big issue at first at Camp Beaverton, as some of the people are not even out in the real world. Camp Beaverton is also fairly popular as they are the hosts of the infamous Strap-on-a-thon, so they attract Burners from all over the Playa (Spanish for Beach, but slang for the home of BM- the great vast desert). The bulk of our best interviews happened in the last few days of the festival as we quickly earned their trust and elicited their desire to share their experiences. 8 days is a short time to meet someone, earn their trust, and film them, but we did it. I took the footage home on September 5th and lived with my parents for the next 9 months as there was no way I could work a full-time job to pay full-time rent, so I whittled away in my bedroom, first transcribing about 200 pages of talking heads, then slowly weaving together the structure, and finally emerging in April to take it to our Agent Headquarters, also known as Ana's house in San Francisco, about 45 minutes from where I was living at the time. We found a post sound person and a colorist, and slowly we gave birth to the film. It was important to us both to have our World Premiere at Frameline in June. Ana has served as their festival photographer for years and Frameline is where we met in 2011, where I was representing the Aussie film by Elka Kerkhofs, THE CONFESSION OF FATHER JOHN THOMAS.
What made you want to make it?
It was in watching, and re-watching, and typing the words coming out of every person's mouth, that it was obvious that these are very powerful queer people who need to have their stories told and preserved. Years from now, I hope, it be so old fashioned, that even our Beavers, who are rather advanced, will seem old fashioned but still a fascinating sociological study. I think we take our lives in the Bay Area of California for granted; we live in a gay utopia of sorts, but times are changing. Your magazine is called Lesbians On The Loose, but now it's uncool to identify as Lesbian. You're supposed to say Queer. Ana and I both, however, have been out long enough, coming out during times where it was a powerful word of great meaning and pride. But in going back to the Beavers, I really believe they are an example of what is to come. If I had to look into the future and come up with some sort of prognosis, I would say that this system, which we are taught is the only system that works well, where two people must find one another and devote their lives solely to each other, will become extinct. Don't get me wrong, I think monogamy and conventional sex work great for some people, but the fact that we are taught this is the only way will eventually be archaic, and obviously so. I could go on about this, but I feel I am getting off track. I think the Beavers are proof that there are other ways of living that are perhaps not so conventional by today's standards and that a harmonious world is built by people who feel totally free to be and express themselves. Sexual empowerment is a foundation for world peace. I really believe this, and in large part, thanks to the Beavers. When I look back and think about how dubious I was when Ana first invited me to Meet the Beavers, I shake my head at myself. I am glad I went.
Why should LOTL readers see your film?
Why should you see it? If I haven't convinced you yet...Actually, I got my chops in Australia. I moved to Melbourne in early 2005 and decided that was the city for me. The best way to stay was to obtain a student visa and so I applied to the VCA, where I was told most people do not get in on their first try. I spent ages on my application, working and re-working, and was successful. Upon graduation, I earned Most Promising Director for my thesis, a half hour documentary called LOVE REFUGEES, a solo-style documentary about same-sex, bi-national couples. I would have liked to have toured this film in the same way I did with the BEAVERS, but I simply did not have the means as an international student. So yeah, if anything, see it because I was an Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy! Oy! Oy! for six years, until your government kicked me out for being five points short on my PR application. *wink. I was over 36.
What are some of your favourite lesbian films?
Favourite lesbian films? On our recant three month European tour, I got to know Anna Margarita Albello, hanging out with her at the queer film fests in Bologna, Paris, and Brussels. Can I say sis-mance? Kinda like bro-mance? I dunno, I just coined that. But yes, Anna Margarita is awesome. I kinda have a crush on her. I hope you picked up WHO'S AFRAID OF VAGINA WOLF? It's the best lesbian narrative feature on the circuit right now. Seriously. I've seen it 4 times and I'd watch it 40 more.
December 16, 2013. LOTL, Lesbians on the Loose Magazine, Australia:
Pink Screens Meets Beth Nelsen (above video) released November 13, 2013.
Radio Campus Interview, November 12, 2013:
November 2, 2013. Hungry Hearts of Norway perform their Lesbian Anthem, "In Your Face," before the screening in Paris, France in celebration of our Beavers. Beth later sings this song to the audience during the Q & A.
October 25, 2013. Q & A with Beth at Perlen Film Festival, Hannover, Germany:
October 17, 2013. Ana & Beth on the Talk Sofa at Hamburg LSF Festival, Germany.
September 21, 2013. Ana Mission & Agent Nelsen give Q & A in Stockholm, Sweden, for Cinema Queer.
September 18, 2013. Q & A. Some Prefer Cake. Bologna, Italy:
August 29, 2013. BEAVERS go to Europe for an 11-week tour, premiering in Rome, Italy.
June 23, 2013. World premiere and a SOLD OUT house at the Roxie theatre presented by Frameline37 International LGBT film festival.
June 20, 2013. DEPTH PERCEPTION, Radio Valencia 89.7FM, San Francisco, California, USA:
June 18, 2013. Lesbian.com promotes Camp Beaverton: Meet the Beavers Indiegogo Campaign: http://www.lesbian.com/meet-the-beavers-documentary-explores-the-queer-side-of-burning-man/
June 14, 2013. Anya de Montigney's radio talk show, The O Word, San Francisco, CA. We discussed Radical love in SF and what we learned from the Beavers. Stefunny Fumbly Mumbly talked about her film in progress, Radical Love, and the Orgasmic meditation practices at One Taste, as well. You can listen through the Apps TuneIn and Stitcher as well. http://www.TeachMeAboutSex.com/
June 10, 2013 Print. Napa Valley Patch, “Napa Filmmaker's Documentary to Debut June 23 at SF Frameline LGBTQ Film Fest"
ANA GRILLO, aka Ana Mission, is an award winning filmmaker, cinematographer and photographer, who calls San Francisco home. She began her career as a documentary photographer and won a spot in the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop in 1997. Ana received awards for Best in Portfolio and Documentary Project for a photo essay about one woman’s recovery from breast cancer. That same year, Ana started freelancing for The New York Times in Washington DC. As her career grew, she branched off into the commercial, magazine and non-profit worlds, working for organizations she was politically aligned with. In 2009, after a long trip to India, she decided to move to San Francisco with the goal of learning how to make documentary films. Ana is still learning as she focuses on women's stories and others who are under or misrepresented in mainstream media. She believes in the importance of documenting our times with a feminist lens, while working towards gender equality in the film industry. In 2013, she was honored to premiere her first documentary film, "Camp Beaverton: Meet the Beavers," at Frameline film festival at the Roxie Theatre, one of the world’s oldest independent film houses.
BETH NELSEN, aka Agent Nelsen, is an award winning filmmaker who has worked in film production since 1995 and discovered her love of documentary while undertaking an internship with Lee Grant’s company, Feury Grant Entertainment in New York City in 2001. Eager to see the world, Beth left the US in 2004 to travel Thailand, India, and eventually landed in Melbourne, Australia, where she earned her Master of Arts in Film & Television, focusing on Directing Documentary, from the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). As a student she gained recognition for her handheld documentary shooting style as well as documentary storytelling skills through editing. Upon graduation in 2007, Beth earned 4 nominations and won Most Promising Director for her thesis project, LOVE REFUGEES, about same-sex bi-national couples. Beth returned to the US and currently serves as the Technological Elder for the Suscol Intertribal Council in the Napa Valley and has this year made two films highlighting the Native American community. She is currently developing "Pancha's," a documentary which chronicles a dive bar with a history rich in Native American bootlegging. Visit Beth's IMDB here.
Stay tuned for more Beaver news and don't forget to Like our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CampBeavertonMeetTheBeaversTheMovie