GROUND ZERO REVISITED – ”Answering The Call” Reveals New Images Of 9/11
We are fast approaching the 4th anniversary of the event that shook the world, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, I still cannot erase those horrific images that were seared into my mind. Like most Americans my memory of that fateful day is one of standing frozen mouthed, staring at the television screen. The pictures that flood my mind are of scenes that I never imagined on U.S. soil. We all thought the Twin Towers would stand forever, cathedrals to commerce. Before our eyes they were falling, falling and falling down, over and over again. Those weren’t the only impressions that would horrify us that day.
Unlike any other tragedy in world history the attacks of 9-/11 were captured on film from every possible angle. Much like our forefathers in the early part of the 1900’s who would never forget the first moment they saw headlines screaming the Titanic has sunk. And later that century the early morning radio reports, on a cold and drowsy Sunday morning December, 7 1941, telling of the carnage at Pearl Harbor spurring America’s entrance into World War II. Then on a beautiful Indian Summer morning September 11, 2001, we Americans awoke to moment by moment television coverage documenting the events of that fateful day. One that will also never be forgotten
Now, we have been given a chance to add to those memories in a way that we all can choose. A way that is uplifting. A new documentary is being released that shows the truth and honor of Ground Zero’s search and recovery effort. The images conjured in this mold breaking film are ones of courage, heroism, fearlessness, endurance, in other words the true human spirit. Answering the Call is a film comprised of never-before-seen footage of the single greatest rescue/recovery effort in US history. Unlike the controversial documentary Farenheit911, produced by Michael Moore, which attempted to polarize America into red and blue states, Answering the Call presents the Ground Zero volunteer community showing it as the wonderful tapestry of people working together to save lives—any lives no matter their race, nationality, color or creed (www.AnsweringTheCall911.com).
The film is made by 25 year veteran firefighter and filmmaker, Lou Angeli, who was one of the trusted few permitted onto the highly secure Ground Zero site to film the rescue effort. Lou’s footage has been donated to FEMA and the NIST and is a very valuable part of this nation’s historical collection of material. He donated a film library, that could have been worth over a million dollars saying humbly, “ I will never seek profit from my disaster coverage, I wouldn’t do it at the Olahoma City Bombing either.” Angeli notes, “I am an EMT and firefighter, we work to save lives not profit from death and destruction.”
What many Americans have never seen or heard about was the sheer size and magnitude of the rescue effort as 40,000 citizens from all over the nation and the world streamed to lower Manhattan in answer to New York City’s call for help. One such citizen was filmmaker Bunny Dubin, a Philadelphia emergency services volunteer and charity fundraiser, who, while watching the disaster on TV, decided that she had to get to Ground Zero and do her part. “It was a call to go restore order, I had no choice. When you answer the call, you just make your way and do the right thing.”, reveals Bunny. “I was never one to sit in shock no matter the situation.” New York City gained an honorary citizen, as Dubin became a permanent fixture at the disaster site, assigned the role of volunteer coordinator for all non-medical personnel arriving at West Sector, Ground Zero.
Actress Kathleen Turner, herself a Ground Zero volunteer, narrates the film with a voice that is filled with the emotion of those unparalleled moments. “When we began to develop the first draft of the script, we thought only of Kathleen as the narrator,’ says co-writer Angeli. During taping of her narration Ms. Turner congratulated the filmmakers with, “I know when a script is good, I have goose bumps”
The film score alone is enough to draw in enthusiasts of every genre’ of film. Created by Geoff Levin, the original music helps set the tone of the film and underscores this behind the scenes look of what it was like to be at Ground Zero. The theme song, written by Levin, is entitled “Everyday Heroes, Down To Earth Angels”, a striking ballad that solidifies the film’s statement of spirit and humanity.
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had become the voice of America in her time of peril. He spoke of the spirit of the American people that he witnessed in lower Manhattan during and after the attack. "Tomorrow New York is going to be here," he said. "And we're going to rebuild, and we're going to be stronger than we were before...I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, that terrorism can't stop us."
Answering the Call thoroughly depicts the very themes uttered by Mayor Giuliani and does so in a way that marvels fellow filmmakers. Maria Florio, Academy Award winning documentarian (Broken Rainbow) stated, "I was deeply touched by this film, It should be nominated for an Academy Award.”. Nathanial Kahn, 2003 Academy Award Winning documentarian, “My Architect” told Angeli and Dubin, “I look forward to seeing your film, as most others on Ground Zero have been rather lackluster.” Jim Careless, himself a video journalist, writes: "The integrity of Angeli’s work stands as a memorial to the fallen, a tribute to their rescuers, and a trusted record for the future."
There has been tremendous controversy as to what really happened before and after 9-11 detailed in such works as the 9-11 Commission report (www.9-11Commission.gov). Unlike these accounts, Answering the Call doesn’t point a finger. Instead, the film offers a non-partisan view of what happened behind the yellow crime-scene tape. It is a poignant and inspirational take on an event that has become a political hotbed. As Ms Turner so convincingly states in the closing moments of the film, “Call” serves to remind everyone that we are all vulnerable and in need of each other,
What you will see in the film will swell your heart with pride and gratitude as you watch frame after frame of people from every walk of life do the impossible—move tens of thousands of tons of steel, concrete, and debris in an effort to save any survivors unlucky enough to have been in the World Trade Center Complex on that day. "I seriously get choked up hearing about the experiences these people had," writes Ty Sieger, a firefighter from Washington, DC who served in as a peer reviewer for the film.” And the video is unbelievable...indescribable. I can't wait to see the entire film”.
I must congratulate the movie distributor that signed on very early with the Answering the Call team, Illuminare Entertainment (www.Illuminare-Ent.com). Often, film companies are often cast in a negative light due to the poor quality of products pumped onto screens .But executives at Illuminare rose bravely to the call and decided it was time to show the rest of the world what an estimated 40,000 volunteers actually did. The film was produced with guidance from Warner Sisters’ Studios, whose motto the filmmakers plan to incorporate in their futures works. It’s the good old original Warner Brothers motto: “Educate, entertain and enlighten.”
If you want to feel good about life as an American, I recommend that you venture out this week to one of the theaters showing Answering the Call. I know that many Americans will want more theater owners to show this film, so I recommend that theater goers call and request that it be screened. In so doing you will help add more positive memories to our collective feelings about 9/11.
Dubin refers to the film as a “Sublimentary”, a feature film presentation that she says, “presents a true and honest portrayal of what is inarguably the best in humanity, our spirit.” Sublime means to elevate something into a higher state, and Angeli and Dubin have done just that with this fitting testament to Ground Zero’s volunteers. “We put the love we all shared for our fellow man into every inch of this film.” Says Dubin. “Lou and I indeed had a love affair with Ground Zero’s volunteers and you will love them too.”
This article was posted on September 02, 2005