In the spring of 2022, the Forest Service accidentally started the largest fire in New Mexico history. Burn, Scar explores a landscape of old injustices, fragile trust, and the fight for our future in the shadow of a disaster that’s only just begun.
Prescribed fire– the practice of setting small burns in an ecosystem to clear it of overgrowth– is widely considered a safe method of maintaining forest health and a critical tool for preparing the southwest for a hotter and drier future. But in April of 2022, a prescribed burn set by the National Forest Service in the mountains of northern New Mexico escaped its firelines and spiraled out of control to become the largest wildfire in the state’s history. Mora and San Miguel counties– made up of rural, traditionally Hispanic communities who have built their lives around this land for generations– were hit the hardest.
Burn, Scar explores the lasting impacts of this historic incident. Through the perspectives of both the Forest Service and the local community members, we explore the future of fire in New Mexico and document efforts to heal, protect, and care for the land.
About the Filmmakers
Hillary Bachelder is an award-winning documentary director, cinematographer, and editor based in Taos, New Mexico. Hillary began her career with the renowned social issue documentary company Kartemquin Films, where she was the former Director of Production and earned credits on over a dozen of the company’s critically acclaimed films and series including the Emmy-award-winning Trials of Muhammad Ali, POV’s Raising Bertie, and Oscar-nominated Minding the Gap. After founding Backbone Films in 2016, Hillary went on to earn cinematography credits on films such as The Dilemma of Desire, which premiered at SxSW in 2020, Frontline’s American Voices: A Nation in Turmoil, and the award-winning Any Given Day. She is the editor of National Geographic’s Emmy-award-winning The Flagmakers, Frontline’s Emmy-nominated American Reckoning, a New York Times’ Edward R Murrow award-winning series, and an upcoming Showtime project. Hillary is the director, shooter, and editor of the critically-acclaimed feature documentary Represent, which premiered in over 60 theaters across the country and broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens in October 2020.
Sarah is a documentary producer living in Los Angeles, CA. She is currently a Producer at This Machine Filmworks, working in-house on their development team under Elise Pearlstein. In 2018 and 2019 she worked as a Story Producer on R.J. Cutler’s Apple TV+ Series Dear and the acclaimed STARZ documentary series Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult, directed by Cecilia Peck. She recently co-produced director Liza Mandelup’s upcoming feature film, Caterpillar, with Topic Studios, premiering at SXSW this year. In addition to producing NMFP, Sarah is currently producing a documentary feature by director David Byars, and just finished co-producing the upcoming documentary series Murf The Surf by Director R.J. Cutler, Executive produced by This Machine Filmworks and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment. Her background as a casting and story producer and her affinity for connecting with people, motivates her interest in telling character-driven stories that can speak to the global issues of our time and the human experiences that connect us all.
Raised in the northern New Mexican village of Truchas, Alicia Inez Guzmán has written about histories of place, identity, and land use in New Mexico. She is currently a reporter for Searchlight Investigative Journalism and the former senior editor of New Mexico Magazine. Alicia holds a Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester in New York and is a 2017 recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant for her website Tierra Firme Projects.