This post is how Camp Fire survivors can see REBUILDING PARADISE, the documentary directed by Ron Howard and produced by the duo who have become friends to so many of us, Xan Parker and Lizz Morhaim.
If you want to see it this weekend as part of an online film festival, follow this link and sign up by Friday at 6 PM: https://rsvp.theworldsbest.events/lzmgn
That said, I did want to add a few words about this film. If you’re like me, a resident of Butte County and onetime resident of Paradise, one of the awful worries that arose in the days after the fire is how outside TV producers and filmmakers would portray our story. Would they produce lurid, cheap, surface level treatments, where our homes, lives and friends are just props in a drama.
Or would they come and get to know us? Would they not only tell the story of the fire, but of US.
Well, now we know a lot. There were TV crews and filmmakers who made us their props. There were filmmakers who came to push their agendas. There were well meaning but amateur filmmakers who told earnest stories but were not talented enough to truly communicate what the Paradise Ridge was to us and what we lost.
And then there was the Imagine crew. Director Howard came to listen and talk. Producers Xan Parker and Lizz Morhaim came to get to know us. And they shot and gathered hundreds of hours of our story.
While working on THREE DAYS IN PARADISE, I’ve encountered a broad spectrum of filmmakers from newspapers, TV stations and world wide nes agencies, independent film producers and major Hollywood powers. None of them, not one came close to knowing us as Xan and Lizz did.
I was lucky enough to see REBUILDING PARADISE at the Sundance Film Festival in January. I was lucky enough contribute some small bit of producing for this film in what I think of as the end of my pre-COVID career.
What they did was worthy. This was made with a care and thought and sympathetic eye as though it was made by one of us. You will recognize the Paradise we knew and miss. You will recognize our struggle and strength.
I’m here to say they did it right, and if you have the hope to watch, you should see it. It’s something we can show our friends and family who were not here, did not live through it, to give them some idea what it was really like on that day and the year that followed.
And they wanted to show our Paradise Ridge community first. I talked to National Geographic and Imagine personnel at Sundance in January.
They were planning to show the film in Paradise April 27. There were even discussions of setting up a giant screen at Paradise High School’s Wraith Field and fill the field with survivors and first responders, bringing out community together to see it with the film’s crew. They also talked about showing it over two days at the Paradise Performing Arts Center.
This plan was literally days away from being announced in March. But Covid-19 overwhelmed this along with so much else. This was just another thing we lost, and another blow we had to absorb. I know it broke the heart of the producers and they wanted to share it with us, and do it first before the film rolled out to the rest of the world. But fate, as we know too well, had different plans.
National Geographic is also providing links to a spectrum of organizations still helping Butte County and Camp Fire survivors. You can find that HERE