By Scott T. Sterling
“We really wanted to create a movie about what it’s like to be at a festival like [Electric Daisy Carnival], and specifically what it’s like to be at EDC, I guess,” director Dan Cutforth told Billboard. “So that was always the intention, to tell the story from the fan’s point of view.”
Originally launched in Los Angeles back in 1997, Electric Daisy Carnival has grown into America’s biggest EDM destination, attracting almost 350,000 attendees to its current Vegas homebase at this year’s event.
Under the Electric Sky focuses not on the superstar DJs, but rather, a handful of ravers. This group includes a collection of rowdy young guys from Boston, a California fan with scoliosis who attends in a wheelchair, and a gang of party people who are planning a “group marriage.”
“We were following about 21 different stories, not just people, and we put a system in place where if we didn’t have a camera crew following people, we had these people we call Care Bears whose job it was to hang out with them and keep an eye on them and if something interesting was happening, let us know,” Cutforth told Crave Online. “That’s how we managed to keep in touch with everything that was going on, but it was a lot of moving parts. At the festival, cell phones don’t work and if you have a walkie, it’s great unless you’re anywhere near a stage because you can’t hear anything, so we did our best to stay on top of it.”
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Cutforth and his filmmaking partner, Jane Lipsitz, come with much experience making music docs, having produced Justin Bieber‘s first movie, Never Say Never, and directing Katy Perry‘s 2012 autobiographical film, Part of Me.
Electric Daisy Carnival has been the subject of much controversy over the years, particularly after the 2010 event at the Los Angeles Coliseum where a 15-year-old female attendee died due to drug-related causes, the fallout forcing the show to move to current Las Vegas location. There was even more debate early last year following an L.A. Times investigative report that pinned 14 deaths on Insomniac and fellow Los Angeles rave promoters, Go Ventures, since 2006.
“As part of their mission to twist facts to suit their sensational story, the L.A. Times treated the opinions of a few people as gospel, turned everyone who enjoys electronic music events into villains, and ignored anyone that did not agree with their biased opinion,” Rotella retorted in an open letter response to the piece.
While the film has only been shown once at Sundance so far (it will be screened three more times before the festival ends), info on nationwide distribution for Under the Electric Sky is expected soon after the movie’s last festival screening on Jan. 25.