New documentary explores Camp and the Woolsey fires in California – The Hollywood Reporter
When British filmmaker Lucy Walker moved to Los Angeles in 2008, she was struck by a seasonal phenomenon that many residents of the western United States had come to accept as normal: rampant and growing wildfires. more deadly. “I was like, ‘Why isn’t anyone making a movie about this?’ ”Says Walker, who lives in Venice.
Armed with a stranger’s curiosity, Walker, who won an Oscar nomination for his 2010 feature documentary Wasteland, about an artist recovering from a huge landfill in Rio, had previously raised funds from online education pioneer Lynda Weinman to make a documentary on the Thomas fire in 2017. Suddenly, two news stories gruesome California case studies happened almost simultaneously in November 2018, the camp fire in the town of Paradise in northern California and the Woolsey fire in Malibu, which killed 88 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes . Walker rotated to capture the historic events of 2018. His resulting film, Bring your own brigade, arrives in theaters on August 6 and on streaming services CBSN and Paramount + on August 20, just as an early and disturbing start to the 2021 Western wildfire season has sent smoke so far to the is that Maine and brought a new threat, the Dixie Fire, to the same community that the campfire ravaged.
Walker has a knack for accessing island communities, as she did in her first documentary about Amish teens, in 2002 The Devil’s Playground, and with the help of Bring your own brigade The family ties of producer Holly Becker with the Los Angeles fire department, she was able to integrate into the fire crews. Rotating with a small crew, often herself, a cameraman, and a sound person, Walker uncomfortably closes in on the flames, her panic palpable from outside the frame. But some of the film’s most poignant images come from the months she spent in heaven in the aftermath of the fires. “It looked like a set from a zombie movie,” says Walker. “The cars were just puddles of molten aluminum. And the smell of dead animals. People from the body team who come looking for the bodies. It is a landscape that haunts you.
When Walker decided to make the film, she assumed she would document climate change as the primary reason wildfires around the world are getting hotter and deadlier. But his research has revealed a much more complicated picture, linked to logging practices and building habits. Walker’s footage of local city meetings reveals angry residents who are often disinterested in firefighters’ advice on building and landscaping practices. Walker says, “If you are wondering how this continues to happen, look at this. “
This story first appeared in the August 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.