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Surviving Surfside will interrogate the failure of the 12-story building in the early morning of June 24, 2021 that left 98 people dead and is still under official investigation, the companies announced on Tuesday. The documentary will build on the Herald‘s coverage of the tragedy, which won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news earlier this year, and it will feature survivors, first responders and Herald journalists who worked on the story, among other subjects.
As the documentary looks into the collapse and potential contributing factors, it will examine “the turbulent history of Miami – the riots, the drugs, the bribes and the condo boom” and examine “all the prime suspects that may have contributed to the condo collapse,” the companies said.
“As a newsroom, we poured our hearts into the breaking news and the ongoing daily coverage, and subsequent investigative coverage, of the Champlain Towers South condominium collapse story,” the Herald’s executive editor Monica Richardson said in a statement. “It was our story to tell because the people and the families in Surfside who were impacted by this unthinkable tragedy are a part of our community.”
101 Studios, led by producer David Glasser, produces Yellowstone and 1883 and is also behind Sports Illustrated Studios, which produces titles based on the magazine’s archive. Grain Media produced the Academy Award-winning documentary short The White Helmets and documentaries including the Academy Award-nominated Virunga and pandemic film Convergence: Courage in a Crisis, all for Netflix.
“This story is obviously about an unthinkable tragedy, but it is also one that is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the importance of tenacious journalism fighting for the truth,” 101 Studios’ COO David Hutkin said in a statement. “We are so proud to be partnering with the Herald and Grain Media to bring this high-stakes mystery to audiences in a way that has never been seen before.”
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is investigating the collapse, and on June 15 the agency stated that its team was about to begin “invasive testing” of evidence retrieved from the building site.
The Washington Post has reported that the $22 million investigation could take as long as five years to complete. In his own statement, Grain Media co-founder Orlando von Einsiedel said, “It’s always a huge responsibility to tell stories of painful human tragedies like Surfside. For us, the Herald’s unwavering search for answers and the survivors and relatives’ battle for justice makes this a powerful story of resilience and the real value we place on life.”
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Zurich Film Festival