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'BURN: One Year On The Front Line Of The Battle to Save Detroit,' Detroit Firefighter Documentary, To Debut At 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

Burn Detroit Firefighter Documentary

Posted: 03/ 8/2012 4:56 pm

Several Detroit firefighters are getting the big screen treatment next month when the new documentary "BURN: One Year on the Front Line of the Battle to Save Detroit" premiers at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

In "BURN," directors Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez tell the story of Detroit through the eyes of the firefighters assigned to Engine 50 on the city's east side.

According to Firehouse.com, financial backers were worried the film wouldn't be compelling. So Sanchez and Putnam spent two 24-hour shifts with Engine 50 and made a trailer that helped them raise more than $100,000 on Kickstarter and attracted others to sign on to support the film, according to MLive.

The film also goes beyond the firehouse. In nearly a year of filming, which didn't wrap up shooting until January, the directors looked at other issues in Detroit. Here's how they describe it:

"BURN is a character-driven documentary about Detroit, told through the eyes of Detroiters who are on the front lines, trying to rescue and rebuild it. BURN will follow the firefighters, the men and women charged with the thankless task of saving a city that many have written off as dead. We’ll also look at the educators, the reformers, the activists, the enthusiasts — those who have the vision and the heart to bring a forgotten American dream back to Detroit."

The film shows the massive undertaking and dangerous work of Detroit's firefighters -- offering a particularly strong message as Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin looks to "brownout" fire companies within stations to keep the department in budget.

"BURN" joins 21 other narrative and documentary films in the Tribeca Film Festival's Viewpoints category, including "Francophrenia" from actor-director James Franco and "The Fourth Dimension" from Harmony Korine.

The filmmakers are still working to finish editing "BURN" in time for the festival, which runs April 18 to 29, and are looking for donations to finish the project.

See a trailer for the documentary below, and read more about "BURN" on the film's website.

BURN Trailer - 2009 from BURN on Vimeo.

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Filed by Kate Abbey-Lambertz  |