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Cool Stuff: Rebuilding Paradise

As wildfires burn across the west, it feels timely to see the release of “Rebuilding Paradise,” a new film by acclaimed director Ron Howard. “Rebuilding Paradise” is a documentary about the 2018 fire that almost completely destroyed the town of Paradise, California. It was the deadliest fire in the United States in the last 100 years, and the worst ever in California. The film documents the tragedy and the community that comes together in its aftermath to begin rebuilding.

I’m highlighting this film because Lincoln Else, my good friend and partner at Novus Select, worked as the DP on this film. Lincoln is an incredibly smart, decisive, and talented guy. His true passion is in documentary filmmaking, a passion he learned from his father, who is an award-winning documentary filmmaker himself.

What was interesting about this production is that Ron Howard directed from a distance. He spent little time on location in Paradise, and left much of the cinematography and editorial/creative decision-making work up to Lincoln. Dariel Medina, another Novus employee (with many skills), worked as Lincoln’s AC and data wrangler. I think Lincoln and Dariel spent over 80 days filming in Paradise! Sean Haverstock, an ace drone pilot and clutch member of many Novus productions, and Bligh Gillies, Novus’ digital production artist, also dropped to help Lincoln as well.

Hats off to Lincoln, Dariel, Sean, and Bligh for their work on this film and bringing this story to life. Obviously, there’s a huge team of story producers and editors who I’m not mentioning in this post, but who worked hard to create this film. But I just wanted to give a special shout-out to the Novus crew that played a pivotal role in making “Rebuilding Paradise.”

Click here to check out a landing page for the film, which was produced by Imagine Entertainment for National Geographic. And be sure to read this review in the LA Times, which also discusses this new reality of what “digital releases” look like in the era of covid-19.

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