In remembrance of the attacks on Sept. 11 in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania 20 years ago this year, National Geographic will premiere 9/11: ONE DAY IN AMERICA, a six-part documentary series which chronicles the events of that day – at times minute by minute – through gripping first-person narratives of the first responders and survivors who were there.
9/11: ONE DAY IN AMERICA is a 9/11 documentary series about the events of that day, produced in official partnership with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. The first episode, “First Response,” premiered June 11 at the Tribeca Film Festival as an official selection. The series is also an official selection of AFI DOCS and Sheffield International Documentary Festival.
Developed and executive produced by Emmy(R) Award-winning 72 Films (“Inside North Korea’s Dynasty”) and Emmy and Academy Award(R)-winning executive producers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin (“LA 92,” “Undefeated”), the visceral and powerful series will air over four consecutive nights on National Geographic beginning Aug. 29 at 9/8c with limited commercial interruption. Episodes will be made available next day on Hulu.
The series spans seven hours, with the first episode of the series reaching feature doc length.
To create this docuseries, the filmmaking team sifted through 951 hours of archival footage – some never seen before – to make an immersive and emotionally charged seven-hour account of that fateful day 20 years ago. It offers a comprehensive and intimate look at how the tragic events of that day impacted so many lives – capturing the heroic acts of selflessness and bravery of strangers saving one another at all costs and revealing the triumph of the human spirit when tested beyond belief.
Over the course of three years, filmmakers interviewed 54 people for a total of 235 hours to tell the comprehensive, chronological story of Sept. 11 – all in the first person.
With a cinematic approach to documentary filmmaking, viewers are immersed in the archive and testimony of those who experienced these events 20 years ago. From the moment when the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and New York Police Department (NYPD) were first called onto the scene of the World Trade Center that September morning to the devastating moments of collision and the chaos that ensued, National Geographic follows the timeline of the day through remarkable archival footage and photographs captured by journalists and bystanders.
The archive includes never-before-seen moments, such as footage taken of the towers from apartments and streets nearby just after the planes hit, the triage area right in front of the towers at the very early stages following impact, and intimate rescue missions during that terrifying day.
“We all remember exactly where we were on Sept. 11, 2001. Amidst the tragedy, chaos and sadness, what we also remember are the incredible feats of heroism, selflessness and humanity on display that day,” said Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Content. “With this series, we aim to immortalize these stories and continue National Geographic’s legacy of authentic, powerful storytelling that provides deeper meaning around important historical events.”
Each episode of the series sheds light on the heroism prompted by the events of 9/11, as individuals who risked their lives to save those around them recount their experiences entirely in first person. From first responders to employees in the World Trade Center and good Samaritans watching the events unfold, they share their experiences – some for the first time.
Testimony includes that of the first FDNY chief to arrive at the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, a firefighter who escapes the North Tower just before it collapsed, paramedics first to the scene who recall their devastating encounters of searching for life in the rubble, and bystanders who share their rescue stories after being trapped inside the towers under mountains of concrete.
In addition, we will capture parallel stories – those of individuals inside the buildings who were on the brink of death, alongside the perspectives of their rescuers for whom saving a stranger’s life was all that mattered.
“Our hope with this series was to bring to the forefront the true human experience of 9/11 in a way that would honor both the victims and the survivors of the attacks that day – a series that forgoes the geopolitical implications and instead focuses on the experience of the people that were there,” said executive producers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin. “National Geographic offers unparalleled access in its documentary storytelling, and we couldn’t be more humbled than to partner with our friends at 72 Films, Nat Geo and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum for this project.”
David Glover, executive producer and co-founder of 72 Films added, “With such deep access to footage and first-hand stories from those who bravely sat down with us to share their experiences, the series offers hope that through immense difficulty, we can rise above when we work together.”
9/11: ONE DAY IN AMERICA is produced by 72 Films for National Geographic. Dan Lindsay, T.J. Martin and David Glover are executive producers; Joe Bini is story consultant, and Caroline Marsden is series producer for 72 Films. Carolyn Payne is executive producer for National Geographic. The series is directed by Daniel Bogado and edited by Chris Nicholls, Audinga Kucinskaite, Dan Lavender and Sam Bergson. Music is composed by David Schweitzer.
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