Sunday, November 15, 2020

DOC NYC Spotlight: 9/11 Kids

I’m excited to be covering DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, which presents its eleventh year, this time in a mostly online format, from November 11th-19th. 

9/11 Kids
Directed by Elizabeth St. Philip
Ticket Information

Most people who were alive on September 11th, 2001 can tell you where they were when they found out about the terrorist attacks that day, whether from their own recollections or from a parent who has reminded them. It was a transformative moment in American history most comparable to the assassination of John F. Kennedy four decades earlier, and one that has had many lasting effects on foreign policy, air travel, and racial profiling. As the twentieth anniversary of that day approaches, those who were too young to comprehend the implications of its events then have considerably more life experience upon which to reflect.

The Emma E. Booker Elementary school in Sarasota, Florida was chosen due to the strong test scores and reading skills displayed by its six- and seven-year-old students as a site to be visited by President George W. Bush on the morning of September 11th. An opportunity to invest in education and interact with these young children quickly turned into something else entirely as he was informed about the attacks and later held a press conference from the school to address the nation. Their teacher and principal were keenly aware of what had just happened, while their students could see that something was wrong but may not have truly understood it at that time.

This film checks back in with the now-twentysomethings who were in the classroom that day. At first, they recount what they remember of that morning and of the excitement of the president coming to see their class. This film digs much deeper into what has transpired since then for each of them and how their lives have been affected by their circumstances. The school is in a predominantly Black neighborhood, and several students discuss the role of race in Sarasota and how they were the victims of police brutality and excessive sentencing for minor crimes. Others have enlisted in the military or dealt with challenging and abusive relationships.

The premise here is to look at a small sample of people who were indirectly thrown into the spotlight as a result of where someone important was on an important day, and that what they digested at a young age has in some ways influenced their perspective. September 11th and its effects are merely the introduction, as this film serves as an eye-opening analysis into what can transpire over two decades and how the paths of sixteen students in one classroom can diverge during that time. Its title may be a slight misdirect, but its content is undeniably interesting.


1 comment:

JackMason said...

Il fatto che l'allarme non sia suonato ha già cambiato molti destini umani. Come ti influenza il cinema?