Project Rebirth Digital Archive
Following the 9/11 attacks, Project Rebirth began filming nine people: a construction worker who lost his fire-fighter brother; an FDNY fire-fighter who survived the collapse of the towers; an NYPD police officer who sorted and recovered remains at the Fresh Kills Landfill; a women who lost her fire-fighter fiancée; a high school student who lost his mother; a Chinese immigrant who survived with severe burns; a widower who lost his husband; a Muslim-American teacher whose son was a National Guardsman that served at Ground Zero; and a Veteran and retired train conductor who volunteered at the WTC site and went on to assist survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Project Rebirth continued filming their journeys for almost ten years, at the same time recording the rebuilding of Ground Zero with 14 time-lapse cameras, creating the world’s largest motion picture film time-lapse project.
The collection includes the Peabody award-winning documentary film Rebirth; short films focused on each of the nine film participants cited above; an extended time-lapse video of the recovery and reconstruction of the Ground Zero site; the documentary Returning, which premiered at the 2017 Sarasota Film Festival; and transcripts and archival versions of Project Rebirth’s films.
These films are a unique record of the strength of the human spirit coping with disaster. Since even before the completion of Project Rebirth’s films, Educators and Community Leaders, Military and Veterans, and First Responders began showing these stories of resilience in settings ranging from middle school classrooms to post-graduate study sessions, behavioral health training for the emergency services and the military, and at gatherings to mark each anniversary of 9/11. Audiences have also viewed them in communities working to recover from major traumas ranging from Superstorm Sandy to the Fukushima disaster in coastal Japan.
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