History Readies '102 Minutes' Sequel for 10th Anniversary of 9/11

'9/11 The Days After' will air commercial-free in conjunction with other 9/11-themed programming on History, including a global simulcast of '102 Minutes' in 150 countries.

 

As the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 nears, History channel is readying a follow-up to its haunting documentary 102 Minutes That Changed America.

9/11 The Days After will screen commercial-free on History around Sept. 11, 2011, though an exact date has yet to be set. The network will also re-air 102 Minutes on the anniversary in a global simulcast event in 150 countries and territories at 8:46 a.m. ET – the time the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Days After is from husband and wife filmmakers Seth Skundrick and Nicole Rittenmeyer, who also produced 102 Minutes. Like the previous documentary, which Skundrick edited in the living room of their Brooklyn apartment, Days After is culled from hundreds of hours of footage from amateurs and professionals alike. There is no voice-over narration. And the spare footage, said Rittenmeyer after a preview screening at 7 World Trade Center this week, produces an “extremely intimate and experiential documentary.”

The film encompasses the days immediately following 9/11 as Americans were coming to terms with coordinated al-Qaeda attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

Rittenmeyer and Skundrick are still sifting through more than 800 hours of video, twice the amount of raw footage they culled for 102 Minutes. And they plan to include the recent celebrations at Ground Zero in the hours after the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan. 

That the worst of the attacks happened in New York City, home to 8 million people and countless filmmakers, means there is an almost limitless amount of footage.

“What also made 9/11 unique,” observes Susan Werbe, History’s executive producer of programming, “is the record it left. It’s not surprising that thousands of people would pick up their cameras to document it.”

According to Rittenmeyer, they used footage donated by 30 different people, including investigative documentarian John Alpert, who shot at a Queens mosque that received death threats and obscene phone messages in the days after 9/11.

“Our shtick as filmmakers,” says Rittenmeyer, “is to construct very authentic scenes of a time and place. The only way to do that is to watch every frame of footage and to be unbelievably detailed and organized.”

102 Minutes is still among History’s most-watched programs. Its premiere on Sept. 11, 2008 was watched by 9.4 million viewers with a subsequent airing three days later pulling in another 5.2 million viewers for 13.9 million over two airings.

 

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