Ron Howard’s Oscar-Buzzed Docu ‘Rebuilding Paradise’ Set For Nat Geo Debut; Portion Of Rental/Sales Proceeds Will Go To Wildfire Relief

EXCLUSIVE:  With the West Coast still threatened daily by raging wildfires, an Oscar-contending documentary is planning to try to help the cause.

National Geographic Documentary Films said today that the commercial-free broadcast premiere of Rebuilding Paradise, from director Ron Howard and Imagine Documentaries, will premiere on Nat Geo on November 8, the second anniversary of the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA. Additionally, the banner has committed a portion of all sales and rentals of the documentary during the month of October, which is Fire Prevention Month, to wildfire recovery efforts in Paradise and the surrounding areas.

National Geographic Documentary Films

National Geographic Documentary Films has initiated an effort to donate $1 of each sale or rental of the film (now available via the Apple TV app, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Comcast and others) for the month to the Wildfire Relief Fund in support of the Butte Strong Fund (up to $50,000). Previously, Nat Geo donated $25,000 to that organization in honor of the film’s theatrical release in July. It is also launching an educational campaign, providing the film to classrooms through a virtual screening event Tuesday.

“We at Imagine Documentaries are thankful to our partners at National Geographic Documentary Films for the continued effort to share this very important and timely film with a wider audience,” said Howard. “There is no doubt that climate change is a contributing factor to the historic fires burning even now on the West Coast, devastating entire communities. This should be a wake-up call – Paradise could be any of us.”

'Rebuilding Paradise' Director Ron Howard
Michael Buckner/Deadline/Shutterstock

Said Carolyn Bernstein, EVP Global Scripted Content and Documentary Films at National Geographic: “We are proud to continue to share the timely and urgent story of Paradise with viewers around the world. We hope this film and our impact efforts can bring much-needed attention and aid to the resilient community of Paradise and surrounding areas as they rebuild, especially now, in the face of additional threats from wildfire disasters.”

On the morning of November 8, 2018, a devastating firestorm engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise. By the time the Camp Fire was extinguished, it had killed 85, 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. Howard’s film focuses on the resilience in the face of tragedy as the community comes together to recover what was lost and begins the important task of reimagining and reembracing their future.

It is an ongoing fight for that community and isn’t over yet. In fact, last month as new, devastating wildfires broke out in Northern California, Oregon and Washington, Paradise found itself too close for comfort again. One day late in September, residents were ordered to evacuate (though that was lifted the next day) because of the North Complex Fire.

Woody Culleton, one of the film’s main subjects, is all too aware of the continuing dangers that make rebuilding Paradise a daunting task.

“As a survivor of the Camp Fire in Paradise CA, I know how it feels to lose my home and everything I worked for, escaping the flames with only the clothes on my back,” he said. “Now, we are reminded of that day as massive wildfires again threaten our town and trigger the terror. I hope those who watch Rebuilding Paradise can take from our experience and see that no matter how devastating the disaster, we can recover.”

Here’s an exclusive clip:

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