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Forty Years in Flames

We’re excited to feature this story from our friends at Narratively, a platform devoted to untold human stories. Narratively explores one theme each week and publishes one story a day, and this week is all about “The Movie Life.”

In this Narratively video by Emily Kwong, after a barn fire destroys a lifetime of master reels and priceless memories, one documentary filmmaker picks up the pieces of his career’s cruelest plot twist.

From the Narratively site, here’s more:

Richard Searls is a warrior among documentarians. He has an indent on his forehead from getting bumped with a tripod leg and a tattoo of a rosebud on his hand, a reference to Citizen Kane. Most famous for Dead River Rough Cut, a film he made with Stu Silverstein about two trappers living in the backwoods of Maine, Searls has produced and shot hundreds of films. In late January 2013, the unthinkable happened: A fire destroyed his farmhouse and took with it a lifetime of master reels, recording equipment and negatives.

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