Project Rebirth: Documentary on Ground Zero Scheduled for August Release

Rebirth, World Trade Center DocumentaryWhile watching news reports tonight on President Obama’s visit to Ground Zero, I learned of an organization called ‘Project Rebirth.’ They’re filming a documentary, ‘Rebirth,’ scheduled for an August 2011 theatrical release and Sept. 11 premiere on Showtime. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.

I cannot wait to see this film, and I’m hoping it’s one of the films at the Traverse City Film Festival this summer. It’s already created some buzz at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

The feature length documentary is from a team of filmmakers who’ve been working together since 9/11. The film is not only a living testament to honor the victims and heroes, but it’s also the most extensive use of time-lapse photography in history. Cameras at some 14 locations have chronicled the developments at Ground Zero for 24 hours a day since March 11, 2002.

Film crews have also been following the lives of nine people coping with 9/11, with three- to five-hour interviews on each anniversary of the event through 2009. The participants include:

  • A survivor from an impact floor of the South Tower
  • A NYPD officer who oversaw recovery efforts at the Fresh Kills landfill
  • A firefighter who survived the collapse of the Towers, but lost his best friend and 343 fellow firefighters
  • A high school student who lost his mother
  • A young woman who lost her fiancé
  • A construction worker who lost his brother, assisted with recovery efforts, and works building the Freedom Tower today
  • A Muslim American woman who became an advocate for religious tolerance following 9/11
  • A volunteer in the recovery effort who later trained as a Red Cross volunteer and assisted Katrina survivors in Gulfport, Mississippi
  • A man who lost his domestic partner of 14 years and moved to California

I’m sure there are many documentaries and film projects following the tragedy, and there are so many ways filmmakers can go with it, from the psychological aspects of healing to the logistics of rebuilding structures there.

Below is a little feature with Tom Lappin, director of photography for ‘Project Rebirth,’ talking about the process of keeping 14 time-lapse 35-mm cameras running 24 hours a day at Ground Zero year after year. I see an Oscar nomination in this film’s future.

Any thoughts on ‘Project Rebirth’ or the documentary? I’m wondering if the film will also include the recent death of Osama bin Laden and how that’s affected the participants. Learn more about the organization and film at the ‘Project Rebirth’ official site; Twitter; Facebook; YouTube.


  1. Living Large Avatar

    To date, I haven’t been able to watch much about 9-11, it was just such a sad event, that I’ve steered clear of all of the films and documentaries. Maybe this will be the one I watch!

  2. Frater Bovious Avatar

    Thanks for posting this information. I would really like to see that film – and had no idea it was being done. Thanks!!

  3. Jane Boursaw ( Avatar

    Project Rebirth: Ground Zero Documentary – in theaters in August: #wsbr #groundzero #worldtradecenter #OBL

  4. Jane Boursaw ( Avatar

    Project Rebirth: Ground Zero Documentary – in theaters in August: #wsbr #groundzero #worldtradecenter #OBL

  5. NoPotCoooking Avatar

    This sounds really fascinating and important. LIke Living Large, I haven’t watched a lot about this, but this sounds like it is such a good overview and look at the subject that I should see it.

  6. Alisa Bowman Avatar

    When I read about these films, I think that I won’t be able to stomach watching them. And then I watch them anyway.

  7. Kris Bordessa ( Avatar

    NO! RT @reellifejane: Three #films on #Osama Bin Laden in the works – will you watch? #OBL #documentaries

  8. MyKidsEatSquid Avatar

    This documentary does seem worth seeing. Alto I’m with Living Large, it would be hard to watch. My husband was on a train heading into Grand Central just after the planes hit. Scary, terrible, times.

  9. Vera Marie Badertscher Avatar

    WOW! This is amazing! I hate watching the films of the planes hitting the building over and over, but this is about rebirth and renewal, and I think will be very healing.

  10. Dorthe Avatar

    Wow, time lapse filmed for a decade… amazing dedication!

  11. Sheryl Avatar

    Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve seen so much footage from 9/11 that it’s cemented into my mind. But this one sounds different and much more interesting and easier to stomach than watching total destruction over and over.

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Yes – I agree with you guys that it’ll be so nice to see footage of healing and renewal, hope and faith in the future, rather than the nightmare footage that’s been shown over and over this past decade. Just *thinking about this film ‘Rebirth’ makes me feel hopeful, like some joy can come out of the madness. I can’t wait to see it.

  12. Casey Avatar

    I wonder if I’ve been walking by one of those cameras every time I go to/from the WTC PATH station? (I saw the PATH train running through the tunnel in the trailer – that’s always been so weird for me, traveling through the construction site.) I’m honestly looking forward to seeing this – it will be heartwrenching, but sounds really well done.

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