For learners from primary to high school, the Sept. 11 terrorist attack isn’t a past memory. It’s history. A new HBO documentary that premier on the event’s 18th anniversary.
The requirement of her project, “What Happened on September 11,” seemed filmmaker Amy Schatz when a third-grade girl told her about a playdate where she and a fellow Googled “Sept. 11 attacks.”
“When a kid does that, what he or she finds are some pretty horrific images that are not surely appropriate for kids,” Schatz said on Tuesday. “So I felt a duty to try to fill that void and try to give children something that isn’t horrifying and kind of fills in the gap.”
The half-hour film coming out Wednesday at 6 p.m. A companion item, focusing on the pictures of previous students at a high school near Ground Zero.
Schatz has made a masterpiece of creating movies that try to explain the incomprehensible, with “The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm” undertaking the Holocaust and another on the Parkland shooting. “I’m desperate for some more flash very soon,” she said.
In this case, she worked with the Sept. 11 memorial museum on the story, filming two men who work there giving remembrances to third graders. Stephen Kern, who served on the 62nd floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower, talks about being relocated. Matthew Crawford, whose dad was a firefighter who died that day, presents his experience. She also found a middle school in Secaucus, New Jersey, that teaches history through art and poetry, encouraging students to process the sentiments of what they learned.
Little history lessons are sprayed throughout the film, about New York and the World Trade Center, the one-time tallest towers in the world. Building began in 1968.
The movie speaks of Osama bin Laden and his activism that began with the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. But it never really explains the whys. Maybe no one can.
Schatz doesn’t dodge some of the horrifying images of the day: the second plane striking the World Trade Center and resultant fireball, the downfall of each tower and the large clouds of trash that billowed through the canyons of city roads. Schatz didn’t want to withdraw those clips since kids know that planes smashed into the buildings, but she opted not to give much time on them “so that we didn’t create too many lingering after-images in people’s minds.”
During her work, Schatz kept restoring to the memory of the youngster seeking for details on Sept. 11 on the internet.