Ron Howard Is “Rebuilding Paradise” In New National Geographic Documentary Following California Wildfires

Published on January 25, 2019

On Thursday, National Geographic Documentary Films announced at Sundance Film Festival, its new feature project, “Rebuilding Paradise,” from acclaimed director, Ron Howard and Imagine Documentary’s Brian Grazer.

The announcement comes as National Geographic’s Free Solo, the critically acclaimed and Academy Award nominated documentary from Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, continues to shatter box office records, officially becoming the No. 1 doc released in the U.K. in 2018, and expanding its U.S. release in IMAX. The film recently also picked nominations from the BAFTA Film Awards, Directors Guild of America, American Cinema Editors and Cinema Audio Society as well as winning three Cinema Eye Honors.

From the Flames, We Are Reborn

In November 2018, Paradise, California, a densely populated town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, was engulfed in flames as its residents witnessed over 153,000 acres ravaged and over 14,000 homes destroyed, while over 50,000 people were displaced, evacuated, and turned upside down.

In the devastating aftermath of the 2018 California wildfires, the film highlights and follows the community of Paradise, California, as it attempts to rebuild. Specifically, the film will take a microscopic look at the growing global repercussions of climate change through a community destroyed by one of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in U.S. history., following the families, volunteers, community leaders, schools, government officials, and first responders on a long journey towards restoration.

The first hit home for Howard, as several relative of his lived in the area and had previously spent time in Paradise.

“The people of Paradise lost everything in the blink of an eye,” said Howard. “The way in which the citizens are coming together to rebuild is beautiful and hopeful— but no one should have to live through this. Theirs is a cautionary tale about the impending effects of climate change and what it takes to restore the communities ravaged by it. Paradise could be any of us.”

“National Geographic is known for turning the lens towards timely, provocative and globally relevant stories,” said Carolyn Bernstein, EVP Global Scripted Content & Documentary Films for National Geographic.  “As we continue to cement our place in the doc films world, we’re committed to partnering with filmmakers like Ron Howard who are pushing the limits of cinematic storytelling.”

Andrew "Drew" Rossow is a former contract editor at Grit Daily.

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