Focus Features is set to develop and produce Paradise, an astonishing story about the power of the human spirit against all odds. It is based on true events during the 2018 Camp Fire, which destroyed the small town of Paradise and became the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning Matthew Heineman is set to direct and write the script. Temple Hill will produce along with Heineman. Josh McLaughlin will executive produce.
As chronicled through her own Facebook post, which quickly went viral around the world, Heather Roebuck gave birth via C-section minutes before the hospital became engulfed by flames. Powerless to move her legs and separated from her newborn and fiancé, Heather embarked on a harrowing journey through the town of Paradise. A group of EMTs and other emergency personnel attempted to reunite Heather with her family and soon found themselves fighting for their lives.
Focus optioned the life rights for Heather Roebuck, her fiancé Bret Harles and their children, as well as Butte County emergency medical workers — Sean Abrams, Mike Castro, Shannon Molarius and Robin Cranston — who ended up becoming impromptu firefighters as the group became trapped by the fire.
Said Heineman, “For me, the film examines the human connections ordinary people make in extraordinary circumstances. Heather’s journey of inner strength in the face of unparalleled and unexpected adversity is one of the most exciting and visceral stories that I’ve ever encountered. I’m honored to work alongside Focus Features and Temple Hill to bring her story to the screen.”
Heineman is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning director, producer, writer, and cinematographer, who has won two DGA Awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary, and was nominated for a DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First Time Feature Film Director, making Heineman and Martin Scorsese the only filmmakers ever nominated for both narrative and documentary DGA Awards. His critically acclaimed narrative debut A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike and Jamie Dornan, chronicled the true-life story of legendary war correspondent Marie Colvin and was nominated for two Golden Globe awards and a DGA award. As a leading documentarian, his work includes the award-winning and critically acclaimed documentaries Cartel Land, City of Ghosts, and The Trade.