The Biggest Party You've Never Heard Of
June 11, 2020 by Screenmag
"It's like Disneyworld on acid" What more needs to be said? The documentary SLEEZE LAKE tells the tall tale of a wild van party thrown in the middle of a fictitious resort town and the people who dreamt it up. And this documentary is now making its mark on the festival circuit, announcing today it will be premiering at the prestigious SFDocs festival and 17th annual Calgary Underground Film Festival this summer. SCREEN chatted with directors Andrew J. Morgan and Nick Nummerdor but first, here is your first look at the Woodstock you've never heard of:
SCREEN: What inspired us to tell the story of SLEEZE LAKE?
ANDREW AND NICK: In 2012, we set out to make a film about custom van culture that resulted in our first feature documentary (2014's VANNIN). This was born out of a genuine interest in vintage custom vans as I (Andrew) owned a 70s Dodge Van and still do. It was during the making of VANNIN’ that we kept hearing of this mythic van party with the very provocative name of “Sleeze Lake”. Since then, the big fish stories and recounting of the event have been a fascination of ours. Fast forward some years and we still find ourselves part of the van culture and a member of Midwest Vans Ltd, the van club at the center of SLEEZE LAKE. So Here’s this strange subculture with an even stranger story buried in the middle of it and here we are, two filmmakers positioned perfectly to tell the story of Midwest Vans Ltd and this massive party they threw. We also saw a lot of value in telling the story of an era when things weren’t so connected via technology. It’s about a time when, even for just one weekend, you could go be who you wanted to be and do what you wanted to do without the whole world watching.
SCREEN: Could SLEEZE LAKE exist today?
ANDREW AND NICK: Definitely not as it was then. Back then, there was this really amazing “do-it-yourself” spirit to the whole van culture and, specifically, the creation of this particular party. These were men and women who had a weird idea, got together, and made it happen in a really low brow and creative way. Today, it would probably be overrun with corporate sponsorship and culture vultures coming in to claim their territory on something unique. Today, there are so many big budget festivals that sell the idea that you’ll be a part of something “epic”. This was the real deal. I imagine that driving into Sleeze Lake in 1977, you didn’t know what it was going to be like. You just got a paper flier in the mail and said “Let’s go on an adventure!”
SCREEN: Why should people watch SLEEZE LAKE?
ANDREW AND NICK: In the very least, if this sounds remotely interesting to a potential viewer, we don’t think you can have a bad time watching the film. It’s a fun and fast-paced film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and aims to entertain and show you something quirky that’s been buried in the history of Americana. It provides a great escape into a world and culture that most don’t really know existed. We think anyone who has ever been an artist, an outcast, or part of a DIY culture will really relate to the story of Sleeze Lake. The soundtrack also rips!