Entertainment

Oscar-winning Vendôme Pictures options John Vaillant’s Fire Weather

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It was just announced that Vendôme Pictures, the Oscar-winning film company behind CODA, has optioned the film and television rights to Vancouver writer John Vaillant’s non-fiction book Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World.

The book introduced readers to a new kind of monster fire that came to life in the hub of Canada’s oil industry Fort McMurray on May 1, 2016. The fire wasn’t declared under control until July 5 and smouldered until early August. It burned 5,600 square kilometres of land, destroyed 2,400 homes and buildings and caused the evacuation of 90,000 people. The final tally of the cost is in $9 billion range.

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“Besides bringing this important true story to a much wider audience, I think film is particularly well suited to conveying the intensity of a large-scale disaster.  Viewers will come as close as I safely possible to experiencing what the first responders and citizens of Fort McMurray went through,” said Vaillant, the author of the other award-winning non-fiction titles The Tiger and The Golden Spruce, in an email to Postmedia.

Photo of Fire Weather book cover
Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast by John Vaillant Photo by Courtesy of Knopf Canada /Knopf Canada

Fire Weather was released in June 2023 and went on to win numerous awards including the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. It was also a finalist for the 2023 National Book Award (America), and here in Canada it is a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for non-fiction and the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. Fire Weather was also one of the New York Times’ top 10 books for 2023. As well it was named a best book of the year by The Guardian, TIME, The Globe and Mail, The New Yorker, Financial Times and CBC.

“The idea of addressing climate change by focusing on one of the most consequential fires in North America made this story uniquely captivating and impeccably suited to Vendôme’s taste,” Vendôme’s founder, chairman and co-CEO Philippe Rousselet told Variety.

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