National Geographic and Imagine Documentaries have unveiled the trailer for Ron Howard‘s moving documentary Rebuilding Paradise, which will be released in select theaters and on VOD on July 31 following a well-reviewed premiere at Sundance earlier this year. For every ticket sold, $1 will go to charities supporting the town of Paradise, California, whose residents saw their community ravaged by disaster, forcing them to come together to recover what was lost.
On the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, a devastating firestorm engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time the fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents, and destroyed 95% of local structures. It was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years — and the worst ever in California’s history.
As residents faced the damage to their lives, to their homes and to more than 150,000 acres in and around their 141-year-old town, they did something amazing: They worked together to heal. The community members went on to forge a bond stronger than what they had before the catastrophe, even as their hope and spirit were challenged by continued adversity such as relocations, financial crises, government hurdles, water poisoning, grief and PTSD.
From the moment the crisis began, Oscar-winning director Howard led a filmmaking team to the city, and would go on to spend a year with Paradise residents, documenting their efforts to recover what was lost. The fire and its overwhelming aftermath became a de facto lesson in what we all must do: 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 Paradise.
“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,” Howard said in a statement.
Howard and his longtime Imagine partner Brian Grazer produced the powerful documentary with Xan Parker, Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes, and the film was executive produced by Michael Rosenberg, Louisa Velis, Carolyn Bernstein and Ryan Harrington. Lizz Morhaim served as a co-producer on the project, which features an original score from Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe.
National Geographic previously released the Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo and Emmy winners LA 92 and Jane, as well as Science Fair, which won the audience award at Sundance. The label’s latest film, The Cave from director Feras Fayyad, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2020.
Watch the emotional trailer below, and for more on Rebuilding Paradise, click here to watch our Sundance interview with Howard.