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On the heels of an overwhelmingly successful virtual premiere attended by close to 6,000 people, National Geographic Documentary Films announced today that it will move forward with release plans for REBUILDING PARADISE from Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard and Imagine Documentaries in virtual and physical theaters on July 31, 2020.
The documentary, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January to positive reviews, will open in more than 70 markets through a hybrid release. In addition to major virtual releases through Laemmle and ShowcaseNOW (National Amusements), the film will be released in select drive-ins and through individual cinemas including Jacob Burns Center in New York, Coolidge Corner in Brookline, Gene Siskel Film Center and Music Box Theatre in Chicago as well as Balboa and Vogue Theaters in San Francisco. Click here for a full list of markets.
“We knew we would have a good turnout for our premiere, but when close to 6,000 people tuned in on a Sunday evening we were stunned. The positive comments and conversations about the importance of community and working together that have sprung from this screening point to the value of sharing this story right now, at a time when our country needs to come together to heal and to rebuild,” said filmmaker Ron Howard.
REBUILDING PARADISE is a moving story of resilience in the face of tragedy, as a community ravaged by disaster comes together to recover what was lost. Since its Sundance Film Festival premiere it has also played in the virtual festivals for AFI Docs and Edinburgh Film Festival.
On the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, a devastating firestorm engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time the fire, known as the Camp 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: relocations, financial crises, government hurdles, water poisoning, grief and PTSD.
From the moment the crisis began, Oscar-winning director Ron Howard led a filmmaking team to the town and would go on to spend a year with Paradise residents, documenting their efforts to recover what was lost. The Camp 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.
“The requests from theater owners to play this film have been overwhelming. While we all wish REBUILDING PARADISE could debut in more physical theaters, this pivot to include more virtual cinemas and drive-ins will enable us to share the film with a wider audience and continue to highlight the essential work of first responders, and the resilience and determination of the Paradise community” added Carolyn Bernstein, Executive Vice President, Global Scripted Content and Documentary Films at National Geographic.
The film is being released through the leading distributor of documentary films, Abramorama.
Directed by 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; co-edited by Gladys Mae Murphy; and music by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe. For additional information, visit www.RebuildingParadise.film.
National Geographic Documentary Films previously released the Academy Award-, BAFTA- and seven-time Emmy Award-winning film Free Solo; the Sundance Audience Award winner Science Fair; Emmy winners LA 92 and Jane, both of which were included in the top 15 documentaries considered for an Academy Award in 2017; and duPont Award winner Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS. The banner’s latest film, The Cave, from director Feras Fayyad, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2020.
About National Geographic Documentary Films
National Geographic Documentary Films is committed to bringing the world premium, feature documentaries that cover timely, provocative and globally relevant stories from the very best documentary filmmakers in the world. National Geographic Documentary Films is a division of National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between Disney and the National Geographic Society. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 132 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27% of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com.
About Imagine Documentaries
Imagine Documentaries was formed in 2018 by Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard with a focus on developing and producing premium feature documentaries and non-scripted television. Based out of New York, Imagine Docs is run by Academy Award-nominated and multiple Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producers Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein. The division expands on Imagine’s rich history in the documentary space, which includes the hit documentary series Mars and Breakthrough (NatGeo) as well as the Ron Howard-directed films Jay-Z’s Made in America, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (2017 Grammy winner for Best Music Film) and Pavarotti. Recently released films include Dads (Apple TV+), Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (Magnolia Pictures) and D Wade: Life Unexpected (ESPN Films). Upcoming projects include a feature documentary on José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen NGO (National Geographic Documentary Films); Timothy Leary: Follow Me to Freedom; On Pointe (Disney+); Supervillain: the Rise and Fall of Tekashi 6ix9ine (Showtime); Gossip With Cindy Adams (Showtime); a definitive documentary on Julia Child (CNN films); a Martin Scorsese-directed documentary on New York’s 1970’s music scene; a feature documentary on musician Louis Armstrong; and the Rory Kennedy docu-project investigating the Boeing 737-Max airplane crashes. www.imagine-entertainment.com
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