Burned: Protecting the Protectors
Director: Elijah Yetter-Bowman Run Time: 30 min.
Starring: Rob Billot
The true story of one person’s quest to understand decades of firefighter cancer.
Her husband was diagnosed with cancer after a career in firefighting, but she couldn’t shake a sense that there was more to the story. Cancer has been the leading cause of death among firefighters for decades. They are told it is due to toxic byproducts of smoke “the products of combustion” yet fires are increasingly rare for firefighters. In fact, the majority of calls are medical yet cancer rates are at an all-time high. Diane Cotter wondered if something else could be at play and with the help of many including a nuclear physicist, it turned out that she was right.
Filmmaker Q&A to follow with Director Elijah Yetter-Bowman!
Award-winning storyteller & filmmaker Elijah Yetter-Bowman (they/them) grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina as a curious problem solver. They attended UNC Chapel Hill to pursue a career in public health but saw that most complex issues lacked creative communication. They founded Ethereal Films to help solve problems with media, storytelling, and impact campaigns. Their work focuses on interdisciplinary action to address major social issues. They have received numerous awards including the Longleaf 2023 “Best Documentary Overall” award, Miller/Packan Documentary Film award, the Footcandle Film Society Award, the Southern Exposure Film Fellowship and earned the title of ‘Kentucky Colonel’ by Governor Beshear in 2022. Elijah’s films have screened internationally across hundreds of venues have have been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. They have served as a guest speaker and keynote at locations including Duke University, Notre Dame University, the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference, and the NC Science Museum.