From Academy Award-Winning Director Ron Howard, Rebuilding Paradise (wt) to Document the Aftermath of the Deadly California Wildfires of 2018

National Geographic Documentary Films announced today a new feature project, Rebuilding Paradise, from acclaimed director Ron Howard and Imagine Documentaries. The film will follow the community of Paradise, California, as it attempts to rebuild following the devastation of the 2018 California wildfires. Rebuilding Paradise is produced by Brian Grazer.

Rebuilding Paradise will take a microcosmic 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. In November 2018, Paradise — a densely populated town in the Sierra Nevada foothills — was ravaged with flames, scorching 153,000 acres, demolishing over 14,000 homes and displacing over 50,000 people.

The film will follow the refugees of Paradise — the families, volunteers on the frontlines of town restoration, community leaders, school and government officials and first responders — the citizens whose lives are forever scorched by tragedy, in the aftermath of the destruction over the course of a year as they come together to rebuild amid the devastation of natural disaster.

The fires hit home for Howard, who has relatives in the area and had previously spent time in Paradise. He believes the tragedy is a universal human experience — it could have happened to anyone. 

“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.” 

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.

In just over two years, National Geographic Documentary Films has come to be known for excellence in nonfiction storytelling, releasing acclaimed films such as the Sundance and SXSW Audience Award-winning Science Fair, Emmy award-winning LA 92 and Jane (both were included in the top 15 documentaries considered for an Oscar in 2017), and Dupont Award-winning Hell on Earth

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 National Geographic and 21st Century Fox. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 131 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education.

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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-winning producers Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein. The division expands on Imagine’s rich history in the documentary space which includes the hit National Geographic hybrid documentary series Mars, and Breakthrough as well as The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years which won the 2017 Grammy for Best Music Film, as well as Jay Z’s Made in AmericaProphet’s Prey, Katy Perry: Part of Me, Inside Deep Throat, and Beyond The Mat in the film space. Imagine Documentaries is currently producing the docuseries She The People with Tony-Award winner Sarah Jones, and the documentary DADS, with Bryce Dallas Howard directing. Imagine also produced the Ron Howard directed documentary Pavarotti about opera great Luciano Pavarotti, set to be released worldwide in 2019.