Documentary showcases healing spirit of a community

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

Rebuilding Paradise, a National Geographic Documentary Film by Ron Howard, Academy Award and Oscar-winning director, and Imagine Documentaries will feature in select physical and digital theaters from 31 July. The documentary chronicles the post-fire lives and the healing of the residents of Paradise, California which was 95% burnt to the ground by a camp fire in November 2018. For every film ticket sold, $1 will go to charities supporting the town of Paradise, California. The documentary originally premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in January, was a recent selection at AFI Docs, a film festival held annually in June and played at the Edinburgh Film Festival from 24 June to 5 July “Now more than ever, we need to remember that when people come together for the greater good we can make a positive change on our shared future. The passion and commitment of the people of Paradise, to one another and to rebuilding their community is a reminder of the strength and resilience of the human spirit,” says Howard. On the morning of 8 November 2018, a devastating firestorm engulfed the city of Paradise and by the time the camp fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50 000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures. It was the deadliest United States fire in 100 years and the worst ever in California’s history.

As residents faced damage to their lives, homes and over 600 000 km in and around their 141-year-old town, they did something amazing and worked together to heal. Community members went on to forge a bond stronger than before the catastrophe, even as their hope and spirit were challenged by continued adversity including relocations, financial crises, government hurdles, water poisoning, grief and post-traumatic stress disorder. From the moment the crisis began, Howard led a filmmaking team to Paradise and went on to spend a year with city residents documenting their efforts to recover what was lost. The director says the camp fire and its overwhelming aftermath became a lesson in what we all must do which is protect our environment, help our neighbors, plan for future dangers and remember to preserve the traditions that unite us, just as these resilient citizens did when they began the important task of rebuilding their city. Rebuilding Paradise was produced by Brian Grazer, Howard, Xan Parker, Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes with cinematography by Lincoln Else and the music by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe. It is being released through Abramorama, a distributor of documentary films. For more information visit