Rebuilding Paradise, from Academy Award®-winning director, Ron Howard, is a moving story of resilience in the face of tragedy, as a community ravaged by disaster comes together to recover what was lost and begin the important task of rebuilding.
The documentary opens up to footage of the fire that nearly destroyed the community of Paradise, California on November 8, 2018. The smoke is so thick, and air is so dark, that it looks like residents are evacuating in the middle of the night. It is 11:30 a.m. Sobering cell phone footage from inside cars reveals residents desperately fleeing as they drive through thick flames. “I can’t touch the window” and OMG! It might melt,” can be heard. Footage from the inside of a patrol car announcing the mandatory evacuation in an urgent plea to save the citizens of Paradise, coupled with a shot of a “Welcome to Paradise” sign on fire as a child is sobbing in a car, reveals the ominous circumstances. An overhead shot of cars lined up for miles appears like an elaborate scene from an apocalyptic movie rather than real life, as residents seek to escape the town all at once. Finally, a family sobs, visibly relieved, as they see clear skies ahead and have safely escaped the fire. Not everyone was so lucky.
The Paradise Fire seems like a distant tragedy in this unusual year of 2020, but not even two years have passed since Paradise, a town of 26,500 people, was decimated by PG&E faulty equipment. The film reveals the aftermath of the fire and the psychological and physical effects of dealing with the fire, in a historic town that has been in existence for over 100 years. Touching moments of residents reminiscing over memories of Paradise. Rebuilding Paradise is a story of perseverance, hope and survival; starting over in the midst of losing everything.
“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,” stated director Ron Howard.
Rebuilding Paradise was produced by Brian Grazer, Howard, Xan Parker, Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes; executive produced by Michael Rosenberg, Louisa Velis, Carolyn Bernstein and Ryan Harrington; co-produced by Lizz Morhaim, with cinematography by Lincoln Else; edited by M. Watanabe Milmore; and music by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe.
For additional information and to watch the movie virtually, visit Rebuilding Paradise.