A still from Rebuilding Paradise by Ron Howard, an official selection of the Documentary Premieres program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Noah Berger.

National Geographic Documentary Films will release Rebuilding Paradise, the new documentary from Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, in virtual and physical theaters on July 31, 2020.

The documentary, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 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.

“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.

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