The celebration for BURN took place on April 23, with over 200 attendees at Brookfield's office space at the World Financial Center treated to a spectacular panoramic view of downtown Manhattan at dusk. A valued TFF partner for eight years and counting, Brookfield honored not only the filmmakers but also the Detroit firefighters who frequently risked their lives during the harrowing year chronicled in BURN.
Prior to the panel, attendees mingled with Brookfield executives, staff and special guests, including Festival Co-Founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, the BURN panelists, and seven uniformed Detroit firefighters. Guests were also able to participate in discussions with the BURN team: directors Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez and executive producers Denis Leary and Jim Serpico.
To kick things off, Ric Clark, President and CEO of Brookfield Office Properties, introduced the panel and moderator Kate Snow, an NBC News correspondent. Clips from BURN were shown throughout—including haunting images of a smoldering city—interspersed with lively interchanges between panel members and guests. In addition to engaging the audience, the BURN team members spoke candidly about their experiences and goals. Putnam eloquently summed up the film: “This is not a story about the Detroit Fire Department; it’s a story about your fire department. Every issue they face is an issue faced by every fire department in America. If we don’t take action wherever we live, everyplace is going look like Detroit soon.”
The positive response to BURN at the Brookfield event foreshadowed the impact of the film at TFF 2012, as BURN went on to win the Heineken Audience Award for Documentary. Audiences clamored to see this heart-pounding chronicle of the perils and frustrations that these overworked and under-equipped Detroit firefighters deal with every day.
The BURN team continues to raise funds so that they can bring about a general release of this important call to arms. As a celebration of these dedicated public servants and a wake-up call to the plight of undermanned and overtaxed fire departments across the country, BURN deserves wide distribution. Be a part of the solution and donate now!
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