If you thought your friends who scored backstage passes to Tomorrowland were cool, think again. “No Cameras Allowed” introduces you to James Marcus Haney, as he breaks into your favorite music festivals and lives to tell his story on camera. And what a story it is.
“Every time I sneak in, there’s that moral dilemma of me withholding something that’s ultimately going to [the festival] being in existence. How much fun I have makes up for that,” he explains. The film opens with a simple scenario: a USC film student and his friends want to go to Coachella (in 2010), but it’s too expensive. His crush is there, his favorite bands are playing: he has to get in. But how? Haney, who transformed from music festival virgin to absolute pro, is here to show us.
The answer? Anything and everything: creating fake photoshopped wristbands, sneaking in (trucks, port–o–potties and fences are not a problem), pretending to be media and simply strolling in. Through informal and personal interviews with Haney, his girlfriend, best friends and parents, audience members glimpse into the mind of someone who went from dropping out of college to touring with Mumford & Sons, becoming their official photographer and subsequently making a movie that sold out at the Wiltern in Los Angeles this summer. You feel for him when he’s denied backstage access or kicked out because his passes are “no good.” You cheer when you see him sneak on stage, snapping away next to anyone from Mumford to Skrillex.
This film will make you laugh and it might even make you dance. In many ways, it tells the tale of our generation through the lens of a kid who has an eye for talent and a taste for trouble. Haney offers viewers a tangible, visual explanation for young adults’ favorite method of escapism. He immerses them and projects both sides of the story, seeing the crowd from the stage and the artists from the crowd’s perspective. If you aren’t convinced yet, just think of the soundtrack.