World Trade Center Docu 16 ACRES Picked Up By First Run Features For North American Release
The critically acclaimed new documentary on the politics and drama behind the World Trade Center rebuilding project, 16 ACRES, has been picked up for North American distribution by New York-based First Run Features. The film premiered at the Zurich Film Festival in September 2012, followed by a North American premiere at the Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York in October. It has played more than a dozen film festivals worldwide since and recently won an Audience Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
The rebuilding of ground zero is one of the most architecturally, politically, and emotionally complex urban renewal projects in American history. From the beginning, the effort has been fraught with controversy, delays and politics. The struggle has encompassed more than a decade, 19 government agencies, a dozen projects and over $20 billion.
“It’s stating the obvious to say that 16 ACRES is one of the most important documentaries of recent years,” said First Run’s Vice President, Marc Mauceri. “Who would have thought a film about developers, politicians, and architects fighting over the design and development of a hallowed site could be so gripping? We’re proud to be working with the 16 ACRESteam in bringing the film to audiences in North America.”
16 ACRES is the inside story of ten years at the site, from September 12, 2001 through the 10th anniversary of 9/11, told by the key players who have shaped it. At the heart of the narrative is the dramatic tension between noblest intentions and the politics, hubris and ideology that is the bedrock of New York. “We were looking for an answer to the question: what’s the real story behind why it’s taken so long to rebuild?” said writer/co-producer Matt Kapp (producer, Valentino: The Last Emperor and The Education of Gore Vidal). “To our surprise, no books, TV shows or documentaries had attempted to answer that question. Few Americans, even New Yorkers, know much about what has really gone on behind the scenes.”
As with all great urban projects, from the Pyramids to Rome’s Coliseum to Rockefeller Center, a small group of powerful people will dictate the outcome. Who are they and what motivates them? “Our core creative approach was to tell the story fundamentally as a first-person narrative – without any narration – told by the key players themselves,” said director/editor Richard Hankin (director, producer, writer, Home Front, co-producer, editor, Capturing the Friedmans). “Many of them are true New York characters, and in many ways it’s a quintessentially New York story.”
Exclusive access to the WTC site, and extensive archival research – more than 3,000 hours of footage were screened – allowed the filmmakers to colorfully and precisely illustrate and guide the narrative without traditional narration. They used never-before-seen footage, photographs, and architectural renderings to create an unprecedented historical visual experience of the rebuilding effort. “We were privileged to have had exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the world’s highest-profile building project,” said Mike Marcucci, the film’s producer. “I hope this film will be seen as the definitive account of New York’s struggle to rebuild the World Trade Center and get its city back.”