Avalon In Focus

Wed, Jul 9 at 8PM - Post-Film Q&A with the Director!


  95 min • in English • Official SiteBuy Tickets

★ ★ ★ ★! …Delivers a stunning emotional wallop. Directed with rigor and sensitivity by Jason Osder, this is the kind of nonfiction film that proves how powerful simple storytelling and a compelling through line can be.

–Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

A Q&A with Director Jason Osder will follow the film.

In the astonishingly gripping LET THE FIRE BURN, director Jason Osder has crafted that rarest of cinematic objects: a found-footage film that unfurls with the tension of a great thriller. On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial radical urban group MOVE came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated—and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. It was only later discovered that authorities decided to “…let the fire burn.” Using only archival news coverage and interviews, first-time filmmaker Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history.

Jason Osder is an Assistant Professor at The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

“I was growing up outside Philadelphia in 1985 when the fire happened. I remember being truly scared. I was struck that the children killed in the house (burned alive) were my own age, living in my own town. Their parents and the police had utterly failed to protect them…A film cannot bring justice to the deaths of eleven people, but an additional injustice is done when this history goes unremembered. This is too powerful and important a story to be forgotten.”


Watch the trailer:

  Zeitgeist Films

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