Fyre (film)

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Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
Promotional poster
Directed byChris Smith
Written byChris Smith
Produced by
  • Jake Burghart
  • Cory Fraiman-Lott
  • Henry Zaballos
Edited by
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • January 18, 2019 (2019-01-18)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened is a 2019 American documentary film about Billy McFarland and the failed Fyre Festival of 2017. It was directed by Chris Smith, and produced by Danny Gabai and Mick Purzycki and was released on Netflix on January 18, 2019.[1]


The film was co-produced by Jerry Media, the social media agency responsible for promoting the Fyre Festival and covering up the fraud, and MATTE Projects, the production company that directed the Fyre Festival's promotional shoot.[2][3][4][5] Jerry Media approached VICE with the idea of a documentary three months after the events.[6] According to Netflix, the documentary was Smith's idea.[7]


On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 93% approval rating with an average rating of 7.7/10, based on 95 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Fyre smolders with agonizing tension when a party in paradise goes awry, but this slickly assembled documentary reserves its greatest horror for damning observations about the dangers of wealth."[8] Metacritic, which uses a normalized average, assigned the film a score of 75 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]

In reviewing Fyre and Fyre Fraud, a similar documentary that premiered on Hulu, The A.V. Club stated that "Fyre is the stronger, more worthwhile documentary, but its counterpart is a helpful reminder that, like so many stories, one account can't contain the whole truth."[10]

In April 2019, Netflix reported that 20 million households had watched the film during its first month of release.[11]

On the 71st Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Fyre earned four nominations, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special, Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program, Outstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera), and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera).[12]

Claims of bias[edit]

Some critics questioned the involvement behind the scenes of Jerry Media and MATTE Projects, the two primary marketing companies behind the promotion of the Fyre Festival itself. According to a report appearing in the New Republic,[13] when signs began to appear that the festival was falling apart, McFarland hired freelance cinematographer Michael Swaigen -- who had also filmed the original viral ad for the festival -- to film behind the scenes in the hopes that revenue from a "recovery documentary" would help recoup some of the losses. After filming, Swaigen returned to California and claims that McFarland failed to compensate him fully, and so he retained ownership of the footage. Swaigen was then contacted by Vice Media, who arranged a meeting at their offices in October of 2017 along with director Chris Smith.

After returning home, Swaigen met with Ja Rule, who informed him of the plans for the competing documentary at Hulu, which Swaigen felt more comfortable agreeing to and ultimately would later sign on to co-produce. In January 2018 he met with FuckJerry/Jerry Media CEO Mick Purzycki, who had become a producer on the Netflix film. Swaigen claimed that by this point Vice was no longer in communication with him, and that the roster of executive producers had become dominated by personnel from Jerry Media (Purzycki, Elliot Tebele and James Ohliger) and MATTE Projects (Max Pollack, Matthew Rowean, and Brett Kincaid). In an email sent to Swaigen by Purzycki on March 25, 2018, Purzycki wrote, "I have final cut on the film and will not be approving anything that is not done with integrity."

In the leadup to the competing documentaries' releases, Chris Smith accused Fyre Fraud director Jenner Furst of being unethical by agreeing to pay McFarland to appear in the film. Furst, in turn, publicly accused Netflix of helping FuckJerry/Jerry Media downplay its own complicity in the disaster, stating to The Ringer, "We have emails that prove that people knew months in advance what was going on and we have a whistle-blower from inside that social media company who says that he knew months before that this wasn’t going to be what it was sold as. [...] It’s a little bit of a head-scratcher to say that we have an ethical quandary when it seems like people who got the rest of the world knee deep in shit are making large licensing fees and getting prestige when this thing comes out on Friday. To me, I think it’s a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black.”[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Get ready to binge: Here's what you can expect from Netflix in 2019". The Sacramento Bee. ISSN 0890-5738. Archived from the original on 2019-10-18. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  2. ^ "How to Prevent Another Fyre Festival". Bloomberg. 29 January 2019. Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  3. ^ "8 Takeaways From Hulu's Surprise-Released Fyre Festival Doc". www.vulture.com. 15 January 2019. Archived from the original on 11 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  4. ^ Shamsian, Jacob (23 October 2018). "The social media company behind Fyre Festival lost more than 200,000 Instagram followers after being accused of plagiarizing its posts". INSIDER. Archived from the original on 11 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  5. ^ Zimmerman, Amy (2019-01-18). "Netflix's 'Fyre': Inside the Millennial Scam of the Decade". Archived from the original on 2020-12-11. Retrieved 2019-07-30.
  6. ^ Martin, Brittany (22 January 2019). "Both Fyre Fest Documentaries Have Issues (But, Yeah, We're Obsessed Anyway)". Los Angeles Magazine. Archived from the original on 5 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  7. ^ Livingstone, Josephine (12 February 2019). "Fyre Festival Was a Huge Scam. Is Netflix's Fyre Documentary a Scam, Too?". New Republic. Archived from the original on 2020-01-27. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  8. ^ "Fyre (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on 2019-04-10. Retrieved October 24, 2023.
  9. ^ "Fyre reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on January 25, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  10. ^ McLevy, Alex (17 January 2019). "Who has the better Fyre Festival documentary, Netflix or Hulu?". AV Club. Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  11. ^ Porter, Rick (April 16, 2019). "'Umbrella Academy' Draws 45M Global Viewers, Netflix Claims". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 13, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  12. ^ "Netflix's Fyre Festival doc beats out Hulu's version for best documentary Emmy nomination". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2020-10-21. Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  13. ^ "Fyre Festival Was a Huge Scam. Is Netflix's Fyre Documentary a Scam, Too?". The New Republic. Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  14. ^ "Fyre Fight: The Inside Story of How We Got Two Warring Fyre Festival Documentaries in the Same Week". The Ringer. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 2023-09-05.

External links[edit]