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Firefighter documentary to be shown in Lincoln

May 27, 2013

LINCOLN – “BURN,” an independent documentary film capturing a year in the lives of Detroit firefighters, is coming to Rhode Island and the film’s director wants to see you at the screenings.
“Because ‘BURN’ is a truly independent documentary that is not funded by a studio or network, we are responsible for raising all the money we need to complete and distribute the film,” says co-director/producer Tom Putnam. “We finished raising production costs, and it costs money to distribute the film ourselves - to find and rent theaters, and promote to a wide audience. The more we raise, the more cities we can get to.”
“BURN,” which is co-directed and produced by Brenna Sanchez, is currently on a 100-city fundraising screening tour. The documentary played in 30 cities last year, and the filmmakers’ goal is to get it out to 100 more cities this spring.
The only Rhode Island screenings will take place June 5-6 at Cinemaworld, Lincoln Mall 17, 622 George Washington Highway. Admission is $20 at the door and $15 online at
“BURN,” has been funded entirely by tax-deductible cash and non-cash donations from corporations and individual supporters, most notably General Motors.
Denis Leary, a five-time Emmy nominee and the star of the critically acclaimed FX series “Rescue Me,” about the lives of New York firefighters, is an executive producer of the film. He is also the founder and president of The Leary Firefighters Foundation, which provides funding and equipment to fire departments throughout the U.S.
“Our main goal, through screenings and upcoming DVD and digital sales, is to raise as much as we can for the Leary Firefighters Foundation to purchase gear for Detroit firefighters,” said Putnam. “Since we do not have a distributor, all the costs of releasing the film falls to us — theater booking and rental, media, marketing, promotion, and outreach.”
BURN is an action-packed documentary capturing a year in the lives of Detroit firefighters who are charged with the thankless task of saving a city that many have written off as dead.
“The film is about an exceptional breed of men and women who battle that beast, despite low pay, dysfunctional gear, under life-threatening conditions,” says Putnam.
In making the movie, Putnam and Sanchez were embedded with the crew of Engine Company 50 - one of the busiest firehouses in America. Located on Detroit’s blighted east side, E50 stands at ground zero of the city’s problems. Over the course of a year, BURN gets an inside look at the people who, despite the challenges and dysfunction, risk their lives, day after day, resolved that they can make a difference.
“The film may be told through the eyes of Detroit firefighters, but BURN isn't just about a single city,” says Putnam. “It's about all national first responders, whose budgets are on the chopping block. It's about the people you hope will make it to your house when there's a fire.”
Putnam’s short films and features have played over 400 film festivals and have been released worldwide. His projects for PBS include producing the critically acclaimed documentary feature Marwencol, winner of the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and two Independent Spirit Awards. Other credits include the documentary Red White Black & Blue for the Emmy-winning PBS series “Independent Lens.”
His short films include Broadcast 23, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and Tom Hits His Head, one of the most widely seen short films of all time. He also was named “One of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker magazine.
Detroit native Sanchez is a documentary filmmaker specializing in music, adventure and cultural projects. She got her start in as a writer and editor for the award-winning monthly magazines Orbit, Hour Detroit, and Raygun, the cutting-edge music magazine.

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