Rebuilding Paradise

Rebuilding Paradise on National Geographic on StarSat


From Academy Award-Winning Director Ron Howard, Rebuilding Paradise Documents the Aftermath of the Deadly California Wildfires of 2018

Johannesburg, 29 October 2020: National Geographic has announced that REBUILDING PARADISE, from director Ron Howard, National Geographic Documentary Films and Imagine Documentaries, will premiere on National Geographic (channel 220) on Sunday 22 November at 21:00, two years after the fire that devastated the city of Paradise, California in November 2018.

On the morning of 8 November 2018, a devastating firestorm engulfed Paradise, California. It had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95 per cent of local structures. It was the deadliest American fire in 100 years — and the most destructive in California’s history. REBUILDING PARADISE, from director Ron Howard, is a moving story of resilience in the face of tragedy as a community ravaged by disaster comes together to recover what was lost and begins the task of reimagining and reembracing their future.

REBUILDING PARADISE, which has been hailed by critics as having “a special timeliness that resonates with the moment”, first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020. It had a virtual world premiere on July 12 attended by more than 6,000 people, followed by a very successful virtual and physical theatrical release on July 31 in the US, rolling out in 125 markets around the country. The film screened on the opening night of the IFI Documentary Film Festival in Ireland on September 21 before debuting in cinemas around the UK on September 25. Britain’s Mail on Sunday proclaimed, “Ron Howard’s meticulously assembled documentary could not be more topical or more powerful”.

“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 director Ron Howard. “There is no doubt that climate change is a contributing factor to the historic fires burning even now on America’s west coast, devastating entire communities. This should be a wake-up call – Paradise could be any of us.”

“We are proud to continue to share the timely and urgent story of Paradise with viewers around the world,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president, Global Scripted Content and Documentary Films at National Geographic. “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.”

“As they increase around the globe, REBUILDING PARADISE is a timely reminder of the impact and devastation wildfires can cause,” says Evert van der Veer, Vice President, Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company Africa. “What the film also showcases however, is the power, bravery and perseverance of the human spirit, taking National Geographic viewers on a journey that we hope will deepen awareness and understanding of this urgent issue, and inspire action.”

In honour and support of those affected by the current wildfires across the US west coast, National Geographic Documentary Films donated one dollar from each digital sale or rental of the film in the USA last month to California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund, in support of the Butte Strong Fund. Additionally, National Geographic donated an additional USD$25,000 to the same organisation providing direct support to the residents of Paradise and the surrounding areas through Butte County’s long-term wildfire recovery initiatives. Butte Strong Fund is focused on long-term rebuilding and funds projects and organisations within five focus areas: housing, health and wellness, education, community development and business recovery.

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; and music by Hans Zimmer, and Lorne Balfe. For additional information, visit

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.