Tiny Homes for Camp Fire Survivors

The ‘Camp Fire’ was the deadliest wildfire in CA history, completely destroying the towns of Concow, Paradise, and other communities in Butte County. This short documentary follows a tiny home-building project to house survivors. We hope communities around the world will be inspired by this story of rebuilding in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Director’s Statement:

I was drawn to create this film because I’ve always been fascinated by ‘little things’. From disproportionately small objects to the philosophy of minimalism. And most importantly: the small acts of kindness we do for others. I’ve come to believe that it’s ‘the little things’ in life that are often the most meaningful. I’ll never forget the month of November 2018 in Sacramento as I watched ash pour from the sky and pile onto porch chairs and sidewalks. I wondered what the ash used to be. It was hard to fathom that just an hour away people were running for their lives – jumping into lakes and driving through melting roads of asphalt. I’m fascinated by trauma and how people persevere and improve systems driven by adversity. My goal as a filmmaker is to tackle tough topics in a manner that is hopeful and uplifting.

Status (updated 5/26/21)

We have completed the final film and continue to apply to film festivals. We have gotten into two festivals so far! We will know more about the public debut of the film in the coming months, as every film festival has different rules around pre-broadcasting. The Director, Amanda Lipp, led a fundraising campaign in August 2020 that resulted in $18,000 to hire a post-production crew.

The story:

The film follows Alyssa Nolan-Cain, a local Butte County resident and single mother of three who learned how to build tiny homes for California fire survivors by watching over 2,000 hours of YouTube videos. Alyssa’s family lost their own home to the Butte Lightning Complex fire of 2008, so she knows first-hand what it’s like to lose everything in a moment. Her empathy drove this project and led to hundreds of volunteers across the U.S. coming to build homes and community. The past year over 15 tiny homes have been built, over 40 homes pre-funded, and over 20 media outlets have covered this project.

The need:

The California ‘Camp Fire’ was the deadliest wildfire in CA history, completely destroying the towns of Concow, Paradise, and other communities in Butte County. As COVID-19 presents additional obstacles during this fire season, many survivors are still displaced and grappling with loss. We expect that number to grow exponentially given the impacts of COVID-19 and 2020 fire season impacts.

Tiny homes for survivors:

People who lost homes themselves have been building homes for their neighbors. Each home costs about $10k each in materials which is made possible by ongoing fundraising and sponsorships locally and nationally. The homes are prioritized for Camp Fire survivors with the highest need (people living in cars and tents) and custom built to their needs and dreams. When homes are ready to be gifted, there is a big “reveal day” for the family or individual receiving the home. The build site is a place for recovery and community.

The Filmmaker:

Amanda Lipp lives in Sacramento – about 1.5 hours from where the Butte County fires occurred. Amanda first signed up as a volunteer builder, but then she got then realized her filmmaking skills would be the best way to elevate the project. Amanda and the Tiny Home Founder, Alyssa, have become close friends, bonded through their shared passion for social entrepreneurship and community building.

Behind the Scenes

Film Sponsors & Supporters

Thanks to those who supported post-production costs through our Seed & Spark fundraiser.

Heather Hatlo Porter, Co-Producer Linda Young & William O. Scott
Lisa Richardson, Co-Producer Sheilah Asher
Dads That Cook Pamela Lipp
Steve Campora Jeff & Dena Mojo
John Mounier Stella & Fritz Hoffman
Lacey Adelmann David & Lorrie Beeman
Donna Howard Chris Ferrell
Rhonda Stanley-Brooks Gary and Sandra Mihelish
Jacki Dirksmeyer Emily And Carly Samelson
Miranda Bard Becky Stewart
Benita Asher Alicia Schneider Balfrey
Peter Jilg Bob DePalma
Gary Susan & Reynolds Lisa
Aubrey Lara Graf Family
Chris Ferrell Eric Lay
Jane Weiner Jessie And Numa
Coffey Family Julia & Rick Adams

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