Now in theatres and on Netflix:
FYRE: THE GREATEST PARTY THAT NEVER HAPPENED
Netflix (January 18, 2019)
An inside look at the infamous 2017 music festival debacle.
Smith’s film, which opened at NYC’s IFC Center and was released on Netflix last Friday, is one of two parallel docs on the same event. Hulu’s FYRE FRAUD launched a pre-emptive, press-grabbing stunt by unexpectedly being released last Monday, not-so-coincidentally the day the press embargo for Netflix’s film was lifted. While both films cover the same story – and even include some of the same interview subjects – they take slightly different approaches that make them both worthwhile. FRAUD has direct access to the key fraudster, organizer Billy McFarland in new interviews, and does a more comprehensive job of articulating his history of scams and fraudulent behavior, while also offering a broader consideration of the phenomenon of social media influencers, resulting in a more nuanced and layered project. Smith’s FYRE benefits from the participation of a range of Fyre’s employees and associates, including local Bahamians negatively impacted by the experience, as well as jaw-dropping insider footage of the company’s and McFarland’s activities, including the convicted felon coaching shady associates through new scams – personal footage that he himself arranged to be recorded for no conceivably sensible reason. Both docs thankfully rise above a simple repeat of the schadenfreude that greeted Fyre Festival’s implosion to instead offer a thoughtful autopsy of the event, an exploration of the unethical practices of its organizers, and a consideration of the culpability of its enablers.