It's been 10 years since 9/11. Through “Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero”, Spielberg and Discovery Channel capture the resurrection of what was once the World Trade Center
The television then brought you the horrific visuals of the plane crash and the twin towers being reduced to a rubble. It now brings you the visuals of how it was all put back together from Ground Zero to the 104-storey One World Trade Center.
Steven Spielberg, in association with Discovery Channel, is bringing out “Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero”, a special series that documents the reconstruction on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the attacks. The series airs between September 12 and 17 at 9 p.m.
For Danny Forster, the producer of the series, September 12 was more important than 9/11. “It's a documentary about 9/12, the day after. Because, in many ways you saw the best of humanity on 9/12,” says Forster in an email interview. “You saw people rushing to the site to look for survivors; people they never knew. You saw a city bond together to support each other. You saw a country, you saw the world come together... And this is what made me make a film on this.”
Forster approached Discovery Channel and Steven Speilberg for the series that focusses on the dream born out of the nightmare, the rise from the ashes, given the daunting nature of the task at hand and real people facing the highest stakes in their professional lives. Building four skyscrapers, a transportation hub, a museum and a memorial featuring the largest man-made waterfall in history, at the same time on the same site, with an unprecedented set of engineering challenges. There was quite a bit of work going on behind the 12-foot opaque fence as Ground Zero remained closed to public eye. And the world. For 10 years.
“Steven Spielberg came with me behind the fence to see inside. It was very powerful what he saw, and I think that's what made him really dedicate himself to the project,” says Forster, who had been the host and producer for “Build it Bigger” on Discovery Channel. “It was Steven Spielberg who brought that very specific vision of characters, of people, of understanding this project not just by the building or the steel or glass, but through the lens of people.”
The new structure is part-memorial, part-reconstruction of everything it used to house. “It's a balance between tragedy and hope. It's a very hard balance because we must never forget what happened 10 years ago, but we must also create a new city. The architects and master planner Daniel Libeskind, a very brilliant man, essentially created a very interesting balance for the 16-acre site, it's actually eight acres for office buildings and eight acres for a park, a memorial plaza. On those eight acres, you have both the pools, the footprints of the towers, but you also have a beautiful park that will be both a place for reflection, a wonderful place to be. In the footprints of the original Twin Towers, these massive voids, each one an acre in size, will be a huge pool 30 feet in the earth. Water will cascade down the sides and then drop into a hole in the centre. And so you'll see, you're standing in front of this massive void, but the water will never fill the void. It will always remain empty. And around the edges, you'll have the names of every victim who died in the attacks in each of the towers inside. In bronze; 3,000 names. They're like the railing, so as you stand there and look into this void, the names are right in front of you. It's a very powerful memorial, and it will be finished on 9/11/11 for the 10th anniversary.” Tower One, which is the tallest building on the site, will be the tallest building in American history at 1,776 feet high.
“When you talk to someone who lost a loved one or you talk to someone who experienced 9/11, I think closure is a word they seldom use. I don't think there'll ever be closure for someone who lost their daughter or their parents. I think the death of Bin Laden is the turning of the page. I think the 10th anniversary or the opening of the memorial will be a big moment to reconnect with how we felt then and maybe think about things differently.”