Jim Whitaker’s multiyear portrait of emotional and physical rebuilding following 9/11, REBIRTH, screens in this year’s new Documentary Premieres section.
Sundance Program Description:
How does the journey of grieving and recovery unfold for individuals and a nation? REBIRTH chronicles the lives of five people profoundly affected by the 9/11 attacks. As a decade passes, we witness the progress of a student whose mother perished, a widow of a first responder, a woman who survived above the impact zone, a man who oversees Ground Zero construction, and a firefighter who lost his closest friends. As they cope with the excruciating and evolving pain of loss, time helps them refashion the scaffolding of their lives.
Meanwhile, amazingly, 14 time-lapse cameras chart the entire multiyear rebuilding of 7 World Trade Center—the first structure to rise to completion after the tragedy. The site’s renewal becomes a stunning metaphor for the cycle of life while the film’s characters reflect the resilience of humanity and the possibility of transformation in the face of anguish. Inspiring a collective catharsis, this exquisitely moving documentary helps us process what is unimaginable.
REBIRTH is Whitaker’s directorial debut, but he has amassed over a dozen producing credits through his time at Imagine Entertainment on a number of high-profile narrative projects, including 8 MILE, AMERICAN GANGSTER, CHANGELING, and ROBIN HOOD.
Why You Should Watch:
Fans of longitudinal documentary projects will find much to appreciate in this affecting project – the five subjects literally transform on camera, from interviews following soon after the tragedy that claimed their loved ones, through maturity, reconstructive surgeries, new relationships, new jobs, and, most significantly, new ways to cope with loss. Philip Glass’ score is also notable, accentuating the emotional spectrum the film’s protagonists go through.
For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph above. The film also has an official website and Facebook page to keep audiences updated on future screenings and other plans.