Lucy Walker wrote, directed, and produced Bring Your Own Brigade, a documentary film released in 2021. It depicts the aftermath of the Camp Fire (2018), California’s worst and most devastating wildfire.
On January 29, 2021, the film made its international debut at the Sundance Film Festival. CBSN Films and Paramount Pictures released it in a limited release on August 6, 2021, before digital streaming on Paramount+ on August 20, 2021.
Bring Your Own Brigade (2021) Synopsis
The video explores the aftermath of the Camp Fire, as towns fight to rebuild and discuss what may have been done to avoid the fires. It also delves into the history of uncontrolled flames and the factors that contribute to them, such as climate change and businesses.
- Rating: R (Language)
- Genre: Documentary
- Original Language: English
- Director: Lucy Walker
- Producer: Holly Becker, Julian Cautherley, Lyn Davis Lear, Lucy Walker, Martha Mitchell
- Country of origin: United States
- Writers: Katherine Montgomery (consultant) Lucy Walker
- Release Date (Theaters): Aug 6, 2021, Limited
- Box Office (Gross USA): $8.3K
- Runtime: 2h 7m
- Distributor: CBSN Films
- Production Co: XTR, Tree Tree Tree, Topic Studios, Artemis Rising Foundation
Lucy Walker was working on a short film about the Thomas Fire, which was California’s largest wildfire to date at the time. After the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire, Walker began collecting stories and decided the material was important enough to make a feature-length film about the causes of the fires and the effects of climate change. Walker and her team captured footage of firemen battling the fire on the spot. Residents and first responders sent Walker a video of the fires using AirDrop.
On January 29, 2021, the film made its international debut at the Sundance Film Festival. CBSN purchased the film’s U.S. distribution rights in June 2021. It was launched in a limited run on August 6, 2021, before being digitally streamed on CBSN on August 20, 2021.
Film critics gave Bring Your Own Brigade good reviews. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, it has an 89 percent approval rating based on 18 reviews, with a weighted average of 7.10/10. The film has a Metacritic score of 81 out of 100, based on 5 reviews, indicating “universal acclaim.”
“Human beings have a fatal tendency of forgetting our past,” said Manhola Dargis of The New York Times, “but Lucy Walker wants us to know that there’s no avoiding the fires now burning our future.” “Mixing together residents’ terrifying cellphone video and sad emergency call recordings, Walker’s crew immerse us in the burning nightmare like few movies have before,” wrote Bob Strauss of The San Francisco Chronicle. “Lacking the concision to hammer home its thesis, “Bring Your Own Brigade” isn’t going to flip the script on what is a dyed-in-the-wool systemic disaster,” writes Ryan Lattanzio of IndieWire.