The latest documentary about Billy McFarland — whose disastrous Fyre Festival ended in a felony conviction — is moving forward despite a threat from the Bahamian government.
Ample Entertainment is producing the doc, After the Fyre, which also hails from Fremantle. The project, at the time of announcement, was described as following McFarland as he returns to the Bahamas for his post-prison business venture, a treasure hunt, in an attempt at restitution of the $26 million dollars he owes to Fyre investors and attendees, among other parties.
In late October, McFarland began posting about the treasure hunt, known as PYRT, on his social media channels. But a letter this week from the Bahamian office of tourism, which is essentially barring McFarland from travel to the country, said that McFarland is considered to be “fugitive” with standing complaints at the Royal Bahamas Police Force. “Anyone knowing of his whereabouts should report same to the RBPF,” the deputy prime minister of tourism, investments and aviation said in a statement. The PM additionally noted that the Government of The Bahamas had not received an application for an event associated with McFarland, and would not approve such an event. This swift slap on the wrist inspired McFarland to send a letter to the Government of the Bahamas, wherein he stated that he was focusing on “how I can right my wrongs” and make the region “whole again.”
Despite this, “the documentary is moving forward,” says Ari Mark, co-founder of Ample Entertainment, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. He adds, “The plan has always been to follow Billy’s post-prison journey, both the ups and downs.” Ample’s previous non-fiction credits include HBO miniseries The Invisible Pilot and A&E’s Cold Case Files.
Fyre Festival, which McFarland founded with Ja Rule as a luxury music festival, was meant to take place in the Bahamas in 2017 but ended in disaster as persistent issues arose around on-site accommodations, security and food, all of which was documented in real time on social media. McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud, and served nearly four yeras.
The festival’s disintegration was the subject of two dueling documentaries in 2019, Netflix’s FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened and Hulu’s Fyre Fraud. The two projects raised eyebrows when a story in The Ringer revealed that the Hulu project paid McFarland for an appearance and to license materials, while Netflix’s doc was co-produced by Jerry Media and Matte Projects, which were themselves involved in Fyre Fest.
THR has learned that McFarland is being paid for archival materials for After the Fyre, which will be funneled towards restitution. According to his attorney Jason Russo, “any income Billy generates” will go towards restitution. McFarland is facing a $26 million forfeiture order in order to pay back defrauded investors, vendors and attendees.