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 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 to time, Sleeze Lake tells the story of Midwest Vans LTD and the biggest party you’ve never heard of.
“Every shred of archival material, right down to the 8mm leader flash frames and film grain overlay used in the editing and graphics is directly from the archives of the members of Midwest Vans Ltd. It truly has their DNA throughout the entire film. Andrew is actually a member of Midwest Vans Ltd and owns a 1973 Dodge Van, complete with port hole windows and a wood paneled interior straight out of a 70’s basement.” – Directors Andrew J. Morgan and Nick Nummerdor