9/11: A Documentary by Jules and Gedeon Naudet
Aired on CBS: March 10 at 9 pm
On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, killing thousands, including 343 firefighters. French Filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet (see photo) (http://www.physics911.ca/gallery2/v/...audet.jpg.html
) were there to witness this tragedy. They found themselves in lower Manhattan as the attack unfolded, and they captured unique footage from the area, including the only images from inside Tower 1, where firefighters were trying to get a handle on the dangerous situation.
Their footage includes scenes of firefighters trying to escape from Tower 1 after Tower 2 had collapsed. Jules and Gedeon, who are brothers, were within a block of Tower 2 when it collapsed, and narrowly escaped death.
On Sunday, March 10 at 9 p.m., almost six months to the day after the terror attacks, CBS will broadcast 9/11 - an extraordinary film, telling the story of that day from the perspective of those who survived it. The two-hour film will be hosted by actor/director Robert De Niro.
Last summer, French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet began working on a profile of a probationary firefighter, or "probie," in New York City and his company, Engine 7, Ladder 1. For the project, the Naudets, who are brothers, teamed up with their friend, James Hanlon, who is also a firefighter in the company. The company's firehouse is on Duane Street in lower Manhattan, a few blocks from the World Trade Center.
They spent the summer shooting the probie, an eager 21-year-old named Tony Benetatos. As the summer went on, they gathered hundreds of hours of tape on Benetatos and life at the firehouse. Around 8:30 a.m. on September 11, the company received a routine call to investigate a suspected gas leak at an intersection less than a mile north of the World Trade Center. Jules went on the call. While there, he heard a roar from above and turned his camera upward, and captured the only known video of the first plane striking Tower 1.
The firefighters jumped in their truck and sped to the fire, arriving within minutes. They were among the first firefighters to arrive. Jules followed the firefighters into Tower 1, and filmed as Battalion Chief Joesph Pfeifer helped set up the command center that coordinated the rescue of thousands inside the buildings. Jules remained with Chief Pfeifer for 45 minutes inside Tower 1 until the unexpected collapse of Tower 2. His camera kept rolling, and for a time provided the only light, as Chief Pfeifer led other firefighters in a desperate race to save themselves before it, too, collapsed.
Eventually they found an exit, minutes before the building came down. When the first plane hit, Gedeon was at the firehouse. With three other firefighters, he went to the World Trade Center, and, like Jules, was within a block of Tower 1 when it collapsed. Both brothers feared that the other had been killed that morning.
That afternoon, they had an emotional reunion at the firehouse. Miraculously, all firefighters from Engine 7, Ladder 1, including Hanlon and Benetatos, survived. Sadly, 343 of their firefighter colleagues died in or around the twin towers that day.
CBS acquired the rights to present the Naudets' account. The presentation of 9/11 will help support the fund-raising efforts of the Uniformed Firefighters Association Scholarship Fund for the benefit of firefighters' families, including contributions from the Naudet brothers and CBS.
About the Filmmakers
Jules and Gedeon Naudet, 28 and 31 respectively, moved to New York City from Paris in 1989. The Naudets attended New York University film school, graduating in 1995. Their first feature, Hope, Gloves and Redemption, about young boxers in Spanish Harlem, took grand-jury honors in 2000 at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. Both brothers live in New York City.
Ten years ago, the Naudets met actor James Hanlon. In 1994, Hanlon became a New York City firefighter, and was assigned to the Duane Street firehouse, where he has worked ever since. Even after becoming a firefighter, Hanlon, 36, has continued to act. He has appeared in more than 30 plays, as well as films and television shows. Recently, he has guest-starred on "Law and Order" and "NYPD Blue." He is married to a French woman, Sophie Comet, and speaks French.