FIRESTORM – The First 12 Hours, is a documentary film that puts a lens to the decisions and the decision-makers tasked with laying siege to the most devastating wildland fires in Northern California’s history; fires that quickly consumed acres of wild lands and entire communities.

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FIRESTORM - The First 12 Hours, takes a careful look at response to the October 2017 Northern California wildfires from the perspective of lessons learned. The film's producers are local talent with backgrounds in fire and emergency services, who bring an informed understanding to the decision-making process during the early hours of response activities. This eye-opening documentary provides an unprecedented opportunity to understand how the fires were managed as well as a platform for future preparedness.

 

FIRESTORM - The First 12 Hours enjoys the support of agencies and individuals directly involved in and affected by the wildfires. Your support is needed to cover the costs of acquiring archival footage, transcription services, scoring and editing, and the successful marketing of the film.  

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PROJECT OVERVIEW

History tells us that Sonoma County's Hanley Fire of 1964 was devastating. Many people, including fire officials, thought it impossible that a fire of that magnitude would ever sweep through Sonoma County again. But, it happened. In October of 2017, history repeated itself as fires raged through northern Santa Rosa in a footprint eerily similar to that of the Hanley Fire.

 

But unlike the Hanley Fire, which took four days to reach Santa Rosa, the Tubbs Fire covered that same distance in a surreal four hours, consuming land and taking lives in the middle of the night. During that time, and in the days that followed, Sonoma County residents experienced the frightful power and unpredictability of the natural world. It's a world that increasingly exists in direct opposition to human development.

 

This documentary will reach out to residents whose lives were dramatically and forever altered by events that unfolded during the first twelve hours of these devastating fires. Additionally, we will interview first responders and public officials to develop an understanding of and appreciation for their decision-making strategies during the fire's critical, early stages. In producing this film, we break down what happened in those first hours, identifying those areas where different response decisions might have been made.

 

In producing this film, we hope to both help our own community heal and to help communities everywhere better prepare for the next firestorm.

 

STYLE APPROACH AND AESTHETICS

FIRESTORM - The First 12 Hours will give viewers access to a time and place rarely experienced by those outside the intimate circle of emergency decision-making. Consequently, this documentary will consist of  interviews with agency personnel and elected officials, harrowing tales of first responders, and heartbreaking stories of people who lost their homes and loved ones. The film will contain raw footage and stills from the fires, as well as audio transcripts of 911 calls.

The film will be exhibited in widescreen, high definition. Aesthetic influences for the documentary include similar films produced by PBS Frontline, the 2013 documentary Directed by Anthony Wonke - Fire In The Night and the 2006 documentary When the Levees Broke, directed by Spike Lee.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

FIRESTORM -The First 12 Hours is an ambitious documentary that covers an event involving thousands of people and hundreds of stories. The film's success hinges on our ability to conduct extensive background research; to call for, collect and review raw footage; to procure documents and files through the Freedom of Information Act; to coordinate dozens of interviews; and to cover standard documentary production costs. All of this requires a significant investment of time and funds.

We estimate a need for $80,000.00 to cover production costs. 

The funds we raise will specifically be used for the following:

  • Acquisition of high quality archival photographs and video

  • Travel and lodging as needed to conduct subject-matter expert interviews

  • Transcription services

  • Editing

  • Visual effects

  • Sound mix

  • Color correction

  • Creation of a film score

  • Distribution and publicity

  • Community outreach to bring the film to festivals nationwide

Your support makes this goal attainable!

 

FILM COMPLETION TIMELINE

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the film will not be completed in the time frame we originally had planned. However, it is still in post-production and will be finished at some point. 

In the meantime, we have completed a 15 min short that is being shown in the Sonoma County Historical Museum on January 6. Click here for more. 

DOCUMENTARY CREW - BIOS

Roberta MacIntyre - Producer/Director

Roberta has combined a successful career as a fire chief and fire marshal with a passion for filmmaking to bring several successful independent films to life. She brings a degree of expertise to filmmaking and a lifetime of disaster planning to ensure that all the details are covered in advance of production and the tools, processes and personnel are in place to deal with the inevitable challenges of producing a feature film.

Coby LaFayette - Director/Producer

Coby is television news veteran, having worked as a camera operator and floor director. She has written for television, scripted shorts and performance pieces, and created educational videos. As a former Emergency Services Coordinator for Sonoma County Schools, she is well qualified to produce this film. She continues to consult on all aspects of emergency planning and preparedness, writing plans and coordinating training activities for private and public organizations.

Veronica Moscoso - Film Editor

Verónica Moscoso is an award-winning filmmaker, author and journalist. In 2011, Verónica earned a masters degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Her thesis, A Wild Idea, is a short documentary film screening in more than 30 film festivals around the world and receiving eight awards of merit and distinction. This movie remains as a significant contribution to understanding one of the most dramatic environmental initiatives to date. Verónica employs a variety of media to craft her compelling fiction and non-fiction stories. She’s the author of various published articles, photographs, multimedia, video and radio pieces, both in English and Spanish. Born and raised in Ecuador, Verónica left her hometown of Quito to live and travel in the Middle East and in South East Asia. She chronicled her trips through journal essays and photography. She settled in the San Francisco Bay Area where she continues creating content, editing, and storytelling.

Dr. Joseph Bartolozzi - Film Composer

Dr. Joseph Bartolozzi's credits his father and grandfather, both professional musicians, for imparting to him a taste for music, which has grown into a full-fledged passion.

 

He has successfully parlayed his diverse musical interests into both teaching and furthering his own education, studying under, among other renown musicians, Ira Newborn (Film Scoring); Perry Goldstein (Composition); Daniel Weymouth (Electro-Acoustic Composition); Garry Dial and Joan Stiles (Jazz Studies); and Sonny Kompanek (Arranging and Film Scoring).

 

In 2012, Joseph received a Master’s degree in Film Composition at New York University, where he had a stint as a conductor of the school's Film Scoring recording sessions where he conducted and orchestrated over 250 sessions. He also has written for 10 films of which five are listed on IMDB. In 2012 Joseph was part of the Cannes Film festival and was nominated for best music in a film short. Joseph plans to use his new degree to become "an outstanding concert and film composer," adding on to his already impressive list of professional accomplishments.

Anne Belden - Writer

Anne Belden is an award-winning journalist who runs the Santa Rosa Junior College Journalism Program and advises the student news media at the SRJC Oak Leaf. Before becoming an SRJC faculty member, she spent more than 20 years writing and editing community newspapers and parenting magazines. She has won numerous awards for news and feature writing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from UCLA and a master’s degree in media studies from Stanford University. During the October 2017 fires, she worked around the clock with a group of students on covering the fires. Their work has won more than a dozen state journalism awards and has been nominated for several Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and California Newspaper Publishers Association awards.

Thomas Rivas - Cinematographer

Tom is a seasoned freelance videographer with certificates in both Digital Filmmaking and Journalism. As a journalist, he recently received two Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) awards for his writing and photography. Tom’s cinematography has been featured in several local shorts and a recently released documentary on Habitat for Humanity. Known for his “running gun” style of filmmaking, he is well-suited to the Firestorm documentary.

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