Watch: Oklahoma-born Ron Howard talks about the personal connection to his Sundance Film Festival selection, 'Rebuilding Paradise'
PARK CITY, Utah - Duncan-born Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard marked the world premiere of his latest documentary, "Rebuilding Paradise," at the Sundance Film Festival, which closed Sunday.
Howard has recently delved into documentary filmmaking with "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week," "Made in America" and "Pavarotti," but "Rebuilding Paradise" marked his first foray into cinéma vérité documentaries.
“There was no thesis to prove,” Howard told the Associated Press in a Sundance interview. “It’s my first real vérité documentary where you go in with yourself and field producers and some cameras and you just start asking questions and see what the story’s going to be.”
As previously reported, "Rebuilding Paradise" was directed by Howard and produced by Howard, Brian Grazer, Xan Parker, Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes.
On Nov. 8, 2018, a spark flew in the Sierra Nevada foothills, igniting the most destructive wildfire in California history and decimating the town of Paradise. Unfolding during the year after the fire, "Rebuilding Paradise" tells the story of the Paradise community as they begin to rebuild their lives.
“It’s the story of a community, not the story of a fire,” Howard told the AP. “It’s a story of a very cruel test.”
Howard said his mother-in-law had lived in Paradise before she passed away, and he had visited the town. Ten days after what became known as the Camp Fire swept through Paradise, killing 85 people and destroying roughly 19,000 buildings, Howard went to see it.
National Geographic will release “Rebuilding Paradise” later this year, according to the AP.
Naturally, Howard also had opportunities at Sundance to chat about highlights of his long entertainment career, his work with iconic actors like Tom Hanks and Warwick Davis, the "Willow" spin-off in development at Disney+, Tulsa native Bill Hader's acclaimed HBO series "Barry" (which features Howard's former "Happy Days" co-star Henry Winkler), his "Star Wars" experience with "Solo" and more.