Sleeze Lake: Vanlife at its Lowest and Best

2020 / USA / 60 min / Documentary

Directed By Andrew J. Morgan and Nick Nummerdor
Cast: Terry Cook

For Mature Audiences Only

Set among the foggy memories and ephemera of the world’s largest custom van club, “Sleeze Lake” tells the story of a wild van party thrown in the middle of a fictitious resort town and the people who dreamt it up.

It’s 1977 and the idealistic message of the hippie counter-culture has played a decade long game of telephone with America’s youth. Still searching for freedom and community in a post Vietnam world, groups of young people took to the open roads in shag-carpeted custom vans. They called themselves “vanners” and their culture was a strange cocktail of irreverence and hedonism.

On the south side of Chicago, the van proved the perfect escape vehicle from the smog of the steel mills and refineries. It was here that a van club called Midwest Vans Ltd. was born. On Memorial Day weekend in 1977, these blue collar outcasts set out to build their own personal utopia, free of rules and restrictions. They erected a ramshackle resort town around a small pond and called it “Sleeze Lake”. When over 20,000 people showed up to the party all bets were off! Set among the foggy memories and ephemera of a subculture lost into the arms of time, Sleeze Lake tells the story of Midwest Vans and the biggest party you’ve never heard of.