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Henry Taylor
Henry Taylor

911 - Naudet Documentary

The landmark documentary, "9/11," that aired exclusively on CBS six months after 9/11, showed the only known video of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, along with footage from inside the Twin Towers. Filmmaker Jules Naudet was inside following the firefighters as they rushed into Tower 1 just after the plane hit.

911 - Naudet Documentary

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On "The Early Show" Thursday, three of the executive producers of the documentary "9/11: Ten Years Later," firefighter James Hanlon, along with Jules Naudet and Gedeon Naudet, discussed how the film had changed.

He said, "You know, it was about a year and a half ago that I remember making a phone call to one of the firefighters who is in the documentary and was at the '93 bombing, was there that day, went as high as the 35th floor and made the command to get out, and I called him up and I said 'How are you doing?' And we found out that he had cancer, and I remember calling Jules and Gedeon saying, 'I have bad news.' We knew right then at the moment that the new update was kind of going to, well not kind of, but it was going to concentrate on the health issues, which has really come to the forefront."

One thing that should be remembered about 9/11 is that it was filmed as the events were unfolding which makes for some truly terrifying moments. One part of the documentary that sticks out after all this time is how the Naudet brothers become separated from one another in the midst of the chaos and destruction. The brothers, though terrified, lost, and confused, continue to capture footage to tell a complete story of everything that unfolded on a day no one will ever forget.

This documentary also spends a great deal of time talking about the generation who never knew what life was like before the events of September 11, 2001, and how that post-9/11 world has impacted them compared to older generations.

In August 2021, the National Geographic Channel released one of most comprehensive and moving documentary series about the September 11 attacks with 9/11: One Day in America. This six-part series (streaming in full on Hulu) touches on a lot of the bigger parts of the day that have been discussed in great detail in the past, but it also has these very personal stories of survival and death that will help you better open your eyes to the scope of the pain and destruction.

Following the chronology of the events, the documentary will share testimonies of the people brought together by tragedy, from the survivors, the fire department, the Police and the leaders of the French government including French President at the time of the events, François Hollande.

The three part documentary will be executive produced and directed by Jules and Gédéon Naudet (Goldfish Pictures); and produced by Propagate (Executive producers for Propagate are Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens) and No School Productions (Marie Drucker as Associate Producer).

Filmmakers Chris Whipple and Jules Naudet discuss their Showtime documentary, Spymasters, which features 12 former CIA directors discussing the tough choices they've had to make in fighting terrorism.

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. As concern about terrorist attacks in Western countries increases, a new Showtime documentary explores some of the most intensely debated issues concerning the CIA's role in the war on terror, including enhanced interrogation techniques used on detainees and lethal drone strikes. What makes the film unique is that it's based on lengthy interviews with all 12 living directors of the CIA. Some former directors proudly defend the agency's controversial tactics; others are highly critical. Our guests today are Chris Whipple, the writer and executive producer of "The Spymasters" and Jules Naudet. Naudet and his brother Gedeon are the directors and executive producers of the film. The Naudet brothers also directed the documentary "9/11" about the attack on the World Trade Center. They happened to be filming firefighters in lower Manhattan when the first plane hit one of the towers. Chris Whipple is a documentary filmmaker and former producer for "60 Minutes" and for ABC News. "The Spymasters" is available on Showtime's streaming service and Showtime On Demand. Chris Whipple and Jules Naudet spoke with FRESH AIR contributor Dave Davies.

GROSS: We're listening to the interview FRESH AIR contributor Dave Davies recorded with Chris Whipple and Jules Naudet about their new Showtime documentary, The Spymasters." After a break, they'll talk about the claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I am Terry Gross. Let's get back to the interview FRESH AIR contributor Dave Davies recorded with Chris Whipple and Jules Naudet, who made the new Showtime documentary "The Spymasters." They interviewed 12 former CIA directors for the film and discussed the difficult decisions they made fighting terrorism and the continuing controversies surrounding some of those decisions.

NAUDET: Well, I think the - from the very beginning, it was important that since this is a documentary whose message is - how far should we go to protect America? And so the idea was to show - what is terrorism? And unfortunately, it is some of these terrible images which we see, such as the images of the people jumping out of the World Trade Center. And as a person who was in the towers in September 11, I - this is one of the moments I remember the most, unfortunately - is these people jumping to their death.

DAVIES: Jules, you mention that you were at the World Trade Center Towers on 9/11. That day, you were actually, I believe, filming a documentary about firefighters and in Lower Manhattan when this remarkable event occurred. You want to just want describe that - the image that you captured and a bit about that day?

NAUDET: Of course. Well, my brother and I were doing - in the summer of 2001, were doing a documentary on a young rookie firefighter. So we had lived already for about three months, day in and day out, at the firehouse second closest to the World Trade Center - Engine 7/Ladder 1. And on that particular morning, I was out with the firefighters, filming them to a routine call in the morning a few blocks away when we heard this incredible roar coming overhead. And I remember raising my head and seeing the plane - the American Airline plane - that close that I could actually read American Airline on it - going incredibly fast, incredibly low. And all I had time to do was turn my camera as it reappeared behind a building and crashed straight into the World Trade Center - then, of course, like everyone, thinking it was a horrible accident, a stupid pilot error. But jumped into the fire truck with the firefighters I was following and ended up at the World Trade Center and filming from inside the lobby until the second tower collapsed upon us.

DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR, and if you're just joining us, we're speaking with the producers of "The Spymasters." That's the Showtime documentary which is about interviews with 12 former directors of the CIA and other top American intelligence officials. "The Spymasters" is available on Showtime streaming service and Showtime On Demand. We're speaking with Chris Whipple. His was the writer and executive producer of the film. Also with us, Jules Naudet - he and his brother Gedeon were directors and executive producers.

GROSS: Chris Whipple and Jules Naudet directed the new Showtime documentary "The Spymasters," which is available on Showtime's streaming service and on Showtime On Demand. They spoke with FRESH AIR contributor Dave Davies, who is also WHYY's senior reporter. Coming up, our TV critic, David Bianculli, reviews the new Bill Murray Christmas special. This is FRESH AIR.

Marking the 20th anniversary of September 11, we pay tribute to the victims and honor the survivors of the terrorist attacks with the screening of the documentary "9/11" at the Maison Française, which presents a unique and moving account of the day that changed the modern world.

The documentary "9/11" will be presented by the French filmmakers and brothers Jules and Gédéon Naudet and introduced by Aurélie Bonal, Deputy Chief of Mission at the French Embassy in the United States. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the directors.

On September 11, 2001, Jules and Gédéon Naudet are making a documentary about a New York firefighter. Instead, they found themselves instead documenting the attacks in Lower Manhattan. Right after the first plane crashed, Jules Naudet followed FDNY rescue crews into the burning North Tower of the World Trade Center. His brother Gédéon Naudet filmed back at the firehouse before making his way to Ground Zero. The video they captured would later become a documentary: "9/11".

The third, and most vivid, was taken by Jules Naudet, a French-born documentary filmmaker working with his brother Gédéon on a film about a rookie firefighter at a station in Lower Manhattan. Jules' brother was the cameraman of the team, but Gédéon had sent his younger brother out on the morning of September 11th with Fire Chief Joseph Pfeifer and other crewmen to investigate the report of a gas leak just a few blocks north of the World Trade Center, and get some experience using their Sony DV cam.

Two amateur French filmmakers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, direct the documentary, and they were lucky enough, or unlucky enough more accurately, to be in New York on 9/11 as they were filming another documentary about a young probationary firefighter. Their story changed dramatically in the course of filming, as is typical of many great documentaries.

And their made for TV documentary includes the only known footage of a plane hitting the first tower, and further the only known footage from inside the tower as it was burning, under attack and collapsing.

The acclaimed 2009 documentary Tehran Without Permission was made surreptitiously on a Nokia N95 camera phone by Sepideh Farsi and played at festivals worldwide. YouTube conditioned people to watch films on business-card-sized viewers, and personal devices only furthered that, but storytelling has shown itself to trump format. 041b061a72


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