Camp Fire films and a David Bazan documentary with Butte County connections
Films of the fire For many Butte County residents, the coming weeks leading up to the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire have the potential to provide many emotional triggers. The media, this newspaper included, will be ramping up coverage of the aftermath, and local groups will be marking the date with many remembrances and community events (visit paradisechamber.com for an up-to-date calendar). None of it is meant to cause harm, of course. The goal is the opposite: to try to help heal. But the trauma is still fresh, and no one with a conscience will fault you if you decide protect yourself from extra pain by avoiding the news, public ceremonies and especially social media until the anniversary passes.
With that said, the first round of Camp Fire documentaries are about to be released, and the trailers are highly evocative (major trigger warning for fire survivors), both for the intense and frightening imagery of people literally running for their lives from the flames, and for the thread of apparent neglect running from power lines in Pulga to the corporate offices of PG&E.
Premiering at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, on KIXE is Frontline’s “Fire In Paradise,” which features interviews with survivors, first-responders and various experts and government officials. It asks the question: “A year after the devastating Camp Fire, who’s to blame and why was it so catastrophic?” (Streaming after Oct. 29 at pbs.org/wgbh/frontline.)
The trailer for Netflix’s Fire In Paradise (yep, same name) is very tough to sit through, especially the cellphone and distress-call excerpts collected during the fire. It debuts on the streaming channel Nov. 1.
And coming to Paradise Alliance Church on Nov. 4, at 6 p.m., is the NOVA production “Inside the Megafire.” The piece tells the stories of evacuees and looks at the science behind the worsening wildfires. Speakers at the free screening will include filmmaker Miles O’Brien, forest adviser Yana Valachovic, Cal Fire’s John Messina and Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter. (The NOVA episode originally aired back in May and can be streamed for free at pbs.org/wgbh/nova.)
On the road with Bazan Before singer/songwriter David Bazan became a one-man house-show road warrior, he was the frontman for Pedro the Lion, one of the most respected indie rock bands around (especially in Chico—where the group played some memorable shows back in the day), between 1995 and 2006. The move to solo also marked a break from the Christian beliefs of his upbringing and a spiritual struggle as he tried to find the way to a new worldview as he toured over the next decade or so.
In 2015, filmmaker Brandon Vedder joined Bazan on his journey, and filmed shows and interviews over three years, capturing both Bazan’s progress, as well as America’s own “crisis of faith” against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election that happened along the way. The resulting documentary, Strange Negotiations, premiered at South By Southwest last spring, and will be showing one night only at the Pageant Theatre this Sunday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m.
Director Vedder—who will be on hand for a Q&A at the screening—actually lived in Chico for a few years. In fact, the bulk of the documentary’s soundtrack was composed by one-time local rock star Sean Galloway (of The Shimmies), who met Vedder in a creative writing class at Butte College. Bonus trivia: Vedder directed the cinematic music video for The Shimmies 2010 song “Judas.” Extra bonus trivia: Bazan actually lived in Paradise at one time.