Skip to main content


USA, 2002 (MIFF 2002, Documentaries)

Director: Lucy Walker

With the common view of the Amish community formed by films such as Peter Weir's Witness - bonnets, buggies and beards - the idea of drunken, speed dealing Amish biker hitmen comes as somewhat of a shock.

The tradition of 'Rumspringa' encourages Amish youth between the ages of 16 and 21 to explore the world outside their sheltered enclave. At the end of this period they make the decision to be baptised into the Amish church or remain an outcast. Incredibly, 90 per cent of these teens return to the fold after up to five years of booze, drugs, sex, fast cars, mobile phones and cable TV!

This eye-opening 2002 Sundance favourite follows the lives of four Amish teens in various states of uncertainty as to their decision. Faron, barely 18, has developed a chronic amphetamine habit. He is selling dope to support himself, has turned police informant and must flee to Florida to escape the wrath of (lapsed) Amish gangsters out for his scalp. Devil's Playground is a fascinating study of a curious religious phenomenon with an atmospheric soundtrack by Aphex Twin and DJ Spooky.

Londoner Lucy Walker cut her teeth on cult kids' TV programme Blue's Clues, for which she received an Emmy nomination. An Honours graduate from Oxford University, Walker was better known as a triathlete and DJ until she completed three award-winning shorts and numerous music videos.

See also...


“The moment when one thing turns into another thing is the most beautiful.” - artist Vik Muniz ... From the squalor and poverty of the world's largest rubbish dump comes a work of pure artistry ... More »


"By turns pulse-quickening and contemplative, The Crash Reel is a thoroughly winning portrait of former pro snowboarder Kevin Pearce." – Variety ... Two-time Oscar-nominated director Lucy ... More »


'Images of Elvis', the pinnacle of the Elvis impersonator's art, a cutthroat competition staged in Memphis to determine the worlds finest 'Elvis' (almost). This cheeky documentary, loaded with ... More »


"Jeff Blitz's riveting documentary follows eight young competitors of all backgrounds as they compete in the National Spelling Bee. During this high-pressure Super Bowl of the vocabulary, Blitz ... More »


"Capturing The Friedmans ran away with this year's Sundance Grand Jury prize for best documentary and deservedly so. An engrossing, troubling and, in the end, profoundly ambiguous re-examination of a ... More »


In June 1988, one of the worst racially motivated crimes since desegregation occurred in a small Texan town. Three young white men dragged African American James Byrd behind their vehicle for over ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director