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Experiencing Burning Man - The life-changing unexpected as illustrated in 'Deep Playa Sunrise'

Feature journalism about a short film

“So what is your plan?” she asks. “My plan?” he wonders. “You look like someone who has a plan”, she says. Silence comes invade their bubble for a few seconds. “One. Find the medic centre”, he first states. “Two. Get batteries. Three…” he continues and pauses before saying: “I don’t have a three”. “I like number three”, she answers, smiling.

They are two strangers, who have just met at Burning Man, the art and culture festival taking place every year on Labour Day Weekend and gathering more than 65 thousand dreamers and doers, who are turning the Nevada desert into an ephemeral city featuring the world’s largest display of art, also known as Black Rock City. Deep Playa Sunrise is their story. It tells the story of a chance encounter, of a kind gesture, of a fortune cookie filled with some of the most heartfelt, relevant, and life-changing words of John Lennon. It is the story of a small little something that is going to change everything.

Deep Playa Sunrise, written and directed by Josh Yeo, and produced by Starving Heartist Films & Sights and Sounds Media House is a narrative short film shot at Burning Man 2015. The film follows the journey of a first time burner who, having recently been stripped of his hearing, goes on an unexpected adventure for hearing aid batteries, and during which an unlikely friend will teach him that what we’re looking for and need is not always what we think.


They met. By chance. Or fate. He was looking for batteries. She was here. She wasn’t the help he thought he’d get. But she was better. She changed his life, and probably even saved him – through the simplest act of gifting this stranger a fortune cookie. Deep Playa Sunrise is an artwork, an artefact, a reminder of exactly this: life has a somehow twisted way of bringing you the things you need most when you least expect it, without warning, without consent – just because… maybe it knows best.

“I remember the feeling of being gifted my first thing at Burning Man”, director Josh Yeo says. “A camp mate that I had only met 10 seconds before came up to me and handed me a beautiful copper cup, with my name on it and an emblem of the Man. I remember not having anything to give back to her and that awkward feeling of being unprepared. And just like that, she gave me a hug and looked into my eyes and said, “Thank you for being here”.

Project Tags

  • Burning Man
  • short film
  • journalism
  • feature article

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