The film, which has screened at a number of film festivals around the world including CPH: Dox, Indie Lisboa and Sheffield Doc Fest, tells the story of a series of gigs in Southern California that paved the way for corporate festivals such as Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella.
Desolation Center, directed by Stuart Swezey, is the untold story of a series Reagan-era guerrilla desert happenings now that includes performances by bands including Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets and Einstürzende Neubauten. It tells the true story of how the risky, and at times even reckless, actions of a few outsiders can unintentionally lead to seismic cultural shifts. Swezey, the creator and principal organizer of these events, offers up never-before-seen archival video, live audio recordings, and stills woven together with new interviews, verité footage and animated sequences. The 90-minute doc features interviews with the likes of Thurston Moore, Mike Watt, Blixa Bargeld, Curt Kirkwood and Lee Ranaldo.
The new cut of Desolation Center also includes an interview with Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction and co-founder of Lollapalooza, who was a participant in all of the Desolation Center events.
The deal was negotiated by Passion River’s Head of Acquisitions Mat Levy and Swezey.
Desolation Center will also have a screening in New York City at the IFC Center, featuring a Q&A with Sonic Youth’s Ranaldo and Steve Shelley, Swezey and journalist Jenn Pelly on February 26.
“At a time where we need it most, Desolation Center celebrates radicalism at its finest. From the music, the movement, and the ultimate legacy these events have forever left us, we are absolutely thrilled to be a part of bringing Stuart Swezey’s groundbreaking story (that critics and audiences already love) to an expansive audience that will hopefully be inspired to create something wonderfully disruptive for the love of artistic expression,” said Passion River’s Levy.