Screening on March 2 at the City Commons Club, Berkeley

City Commons Club of Berkeley meets in the historic Berkeley City Club at 2315 Durant Avenue; Berkeley. The building was designed by noted architect and BCC member Julia Morgan. For information about City Commons: or call (510) 845-8055 or (510) 428-0222.

Pre-meeting coffee, soft drinks, wine, and conversation from 11:20 in the Venetian Room. Lunch served from 11:45 to 12:15.  Lunch is $17.00; coffee only is $1.00. Speaker begins at 12:30 and meeting adjourns at 1:30. Visitors are welcome:  please call for lunch reservations by the day before the Friday meeting: Jane Barrett–(510) 845-8055.

Friday, March 2, 2012      Noon Luncheon
Ms. Margaretta K. Mitchell, Author, Berkeley Photographer & Film-Maker
“The 1991 Phoenix Firestorm in the Berkeley/Oakland Hills”
Ms. Mitchell created a visual documentary of the firestorm disaster, aftermath, and recovery for the recent 20th anniversary commemoration of that disastrous event that killed 25 people, injured 150 others, and caused some 1.5 billion dollars in damage. Ms. Mitchell will show her documentary film,” Fire Ruin Renewal ” and will then discuss its production and other details related to her project and to the firestorm itself.

Responses keep coming

What a poignant memory of that terrible day, but how nice to follow you through to the other side and to see Fred once again. Thank you. A great job.

Mike and Sheila Humphreys

Margaretta Mitchell’s film “Fire”, reveals  a personal saga of shock, action and endurance in response to the horrific Oakland Hills fire.  Having witnessed the fire myself, I thought the film captured the intensity of the collective urban surprise to this visit from Nature. In addition, this film is a love story about a house and its history and honoring the past through renewal and restoration.

Jo Whaley, photographer

New Response

First I want to say that I was aghast at the enormity of the firestorm. Visually it came alive in all its terror. You wove the parts together into a complex fabric of journal, voice, film and family histories. The house was breathing through out- not dead, as you said, but sick. The drama was gut wrenching and part of me wonders how you can keep viewing it. But the restoration is the phoenix part that brought healing. How I remember that Frederick really took hold and played a major part. His documentation was so important to this film.

You made an impressive piece, artfully knitting the threads into a collaborative whole. The house was giving back to you even as you restored it. I love that you found documents of its origin as you broke into the walls. I am so proud of you. It must feel so fine to have seen this film/story through to completion.

Anne Bell Robb, Kedron Design

Another Response

“Your beautiful documentary: so moving, so historically fascinating. From raging fire to ruin and renewal, the story ends with a hopefulness that is amazing. You have a prize-winner here. Congratulations.”

Holly French Perry