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BURN is a feature documentary about Detroit, told through the eyes of its firefighters.
BURN is a feature documentary about Detroit, told through the eyes of its firefighters.
BURN is a feature documentary about Detroit, told through the eyes of its firefighters.
1,758 backers pledged $119,547 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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BURN: The Detroit Firefighter Documentary

$119,547

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BURN is a documentary about Detroit, told through the eyes of its firefighters, who risk their lives to save a city that many have written off as dead. Detroit firefighters have a front-line look at issues many American cities are just beginning to face. Along with the foreclosure boom, arson fires in Detroit have skyrocketed. The reasons vary: Homeowners desperate to get out from under mortgages, gangs and drug dealers out for revenge, bored teens failed by the education system. The end result is a city struggling to cope with one of the highest per capita arson and fire rates in the world.

Every shift, Detroit firefighters face injury, disablement, illness, death. But still they come back, day after day, resolved they can make a difference. And they do it with camaraderie and a remarkable sense of humor.  We have embedded with firefighters of the DFD and are following the Detroit story through their eyes. Our film explores human struggles, hope and personal courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

Until now, no one has properly explored these issues, and these heroes, with the depth and detail they deserve.

BURN is produced and directed by Tom Putnam & Brenna Sanchez. Executive Producers Denis Leary & Jim Serpico ("Rescue Me," Apostle Films)

What We’re Doing

We’re raising money to finish the documentary! The film is 95% shot, and 70% funded. We need to meet (or beat) our fundraising goal to cover post-production costs to finish the film in time for a festival premiere in Spring 2012. After that, the film stands to follow the path of our previous documentaries: Theatrical release, DVD and broadcast.

Why We’re Doing It

We started the project in December 2008, after the death of Detroit firefighter Walter Harris, who perished fighting an arson fire in an abandoned house. Everyone can agree — public safety is a national and local priority. But fire, police and EMS across the nation are struggling with intense budget cuts to gear and manpower. Although our film is about the Detroit Fire Department, the DFD faces issues that can now be found in nearly every major American city. Our goal is to share their story so that everyone can appreciate and value their first responders, no matter where they live.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    You'll get special thanks on the film’s website and first-look updates on the film’s progress!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You'll get first-look updates on the film’s progress. PLUS: Special Thanks in the film’s end credits and website, Sneak Peak at select footage before the film is released and an exclusive Denis Leary mp3 ringtone! (Ringtone will be delivered as an Mp3 file with basic instructions for select phones.)

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE: First-look updates on the film’s progress, special thanks in the film’s end credits and website, Sneak Peak at select footage before the film is released, an exclusive Denis Leary mp3 ringtone and an exclusive BURN t-shirt. (Shipping add: Canada $6, int'l $10.)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE (above) + The Leary Foundation Package: LFF T-shirt, Hat, Pin & Patch! (Shipping add: Canada $6, int'l $10; LFF shirt sizes limited.)

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    IN HONOR OF: You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + We’ll post your dedication and a photo of the firefighter in your life or someone you’d like to honor in a special gallery on our website and Facebook page! (Shipping add: Canada $6, int'l $10.)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + One (1) autographed copy of Denis Leary’s New York Times Bestselling book WHY WE SUCK! (Shipping add: Canada $6, int'l $10.)

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    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + One (1) 11"x14" premium print from the film. (Shipping add: Canada $6; int'l $10.)

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    You'll get the COMEDY PACKAGE (12) Comedy Central DVD's incl. Louis C.K., Lewis Black, Jim Gaffigan, Jeff Dunham + More + (1) BURN T-Shirt and the Denis Leary mp3 Ringtone. (Shipping addl: Canada $14, int'l $25.)

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + One (1) Authentic Louisville Slugger autographed by Detroit Tigers All-Star, Victor Martinez! (US shipping add $7; Canada $8; int'l $14.)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + One (1) customizable BURN Cairns 1044 helmet with Defender goggles - Any color!

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + The complete series of "Rescue Me" on DVD + the pilot script of "Rescue Me" autographed by Denis Leary! (Shipping add: Canada $6, int'l $10.)

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    Reward no longer available 30 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE (for two) + Two (2) tickets to the Detroit or LA premiere and after party. (Travel and lodging not included.)

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    Limited 75 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + A Detroit Red Wings' hockey puck and 8x10 action photo BOTH signed by Red Wings' star Pavel Datsyuk! (US shipping add $7; Canada $8; int'l $14.)

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + One (1) customizable BURN Cairns N5A leather helmets - Any color!

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + One (1) customizable BURN Husqvarna 346 XP Trio Brake saw!

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + a framed 33.5" x 44.25" poster of Rescue Me's Pierce Manufacturing 62 Truck signed by the cast of the show!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    FIREHOUSE CHALLENGE!! You and your crew will get one (1) 11"x14" print from the film signed by Denis Leary and the filmmakers to hang in your firehouse, 8 exclusive BURN T-shirts, 8 LFF T-shirts, Patches and Pins. (Shipping add: Canada $6, int'l $10.)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + One (1) customizable BURN Husqvarna 12" K760 Rescue Saw!

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    You'll get the BRUINS PACKAGE (4) Loge Tickets to any home game*, (1) Zamboni Ride during the game for one person 12 or older, (1) Autographed Cam Neely Bruins Jersey. (*Specific home game to be mutually agreed upon with the Bruins staff. Travel and lodging not included.)

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    Pledge $1,100 or more About $1,100

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + One (1) customizable BURN Husqvarna 14" K970 Rescue Saw!

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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  21. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE for two (2) + Lunch with a Detroit fire crew and a tour of the firehouse! Spend quality time with the firefighters, and get some of that famous DFD chow the BURN crew loves! (Travel and lodging not included.)

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    Limited 0 backers
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  22. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + Two (2) tickets to the Detroit or LA premiere and after party + One (1) autographed Cairn’s leather helmet signed by the cast of “Rescue Me"! (Travel and lodging not included.)

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + Two (2) tickets to the Los Angeles or Detroit premiere and after party + A visit for two (2) to the set of Boardwalk Empire, starring former firefighter Steve Buscemi! (Travel and lodging not included.)

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  24. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + Tom Putnam, Brenna Sanchez and/or a DFD firefighter will host a private screening and Q&A for you and your group! (US only.)

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    You'll get the BEHIND THE SCENES PACKAGE + Two (2) tickets to the Los Angeles or Detroit premiere and after party + An ASSOCIATE PRODUCER title on the film’s end credits! (Travel and lodging not included.)

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Funding period

- (40 days)