On Sept. 6, 2010 in the mountains west of Boulder, Colorado, a wildfire swept through a 6,000 acre area, burning 169 structures. Most of these structures were homes, and over 3,500 people were evacuated during the eleven-day blaze. Some had a day to organize and pack their cars, while others left with only the clothes they were wearing when the fire roared too close.
“Packed” is a film about the evacuees and what they chose to take with them, not knowing if the possessions left behind would survive the massive blaze.
Over 30 evacuees were interviewed for the film, and in all but a few cases, they took stuff with them. They took things we would expect, and many possessions we wouldn’t. The variety is surprising, and the stories about the belongings are touching, irreverent, hopeful and insightful.
“Packed” is a ticket to a place most people will never visit because, hopefully, we will never be forced to choose among our possessions during a crisis.
The evacuees responses bring up many questions for “Packed” viewers, and the nature of our relationship with our stuff is a dominant theme in the film: what, exactly, do the evacuees’ possessions mean to them? And by extension, what do our belongings mean to us? Are our possessions a reflection of our essence or is it, in the end, “just stuff”?
Whatever the questions, each evacuee’s response has something to teach us about the things we surround ourselves with and what is truly irreplaceable.