The Second Day: A Teenager’s Film Debuts at the Tribeca Film Festival (Part Two of Three) by Dwain Carryl

October 25, 2011

About the author: Film enthusiast and Tri-State area resident Dwain Carryl has attended several Tribeca Film Festivals. Mr. Carryl is a 1999 graduate of Harvard University and earned an MBA in Finance from Yale University.

Filmmaker Brook Peters was four-and-a-half years old and had just begun his second day of kindergarten the morning of September 11, 2001. Like many schoolchildren, his memories of that day are deeply emotional. Unlike many children, he experienced the chaos of that day firsthand. As a student at PS 150 Tribeca Learning Center, he was four blocks from the dual attacks on the World Trade Center. Many children have repressed those memories, but Peters felt compelled to tell the emotional story of the day that changed New York City forever. Using a home video camera, he began working on the film when he was 11 years old, editing 18 hours of raw footage of interviews with students and teachers affected that day.

The Second Day, Brook Peters’ 37-minute documentary, premiered at the 10th Annual Tribeca Film Festival in April of 2011, followed by a panel discussion with Peters and several of his interviewees. The film was narrated by actors and native New Yorkers Charles Durning and Dan Lauria and produced by Peters’ mother, Michelle. After the towers were hit, Michelle, a volunteer for the New York City Fire Department, picked her son up at school and took him to the stricken World Trade Center, where she facilitated communication among the firefighters. He remembers sitting in a fire truck as the firefighters gave him messages of love for their families. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he recalled that one firefighter encouraged him to “grow up and be a good man.”

As the South Tower collapsed, Michelle Peters took her son out of the fire truck and ran north toward Canal Street and safety. He recalls looking over her shoulder at the chaos and destruction of the collapse. He took those memories to heart and went to therapy for seven years to make sense of his second day of school. His drive to understand 9/11 led him to create The Second Day and to express a message of hope, strength, and resilience as displayed by the students and teachers of PS 150.

To learn more about the film and Brook Peters’ Share Your Strength campaign, please visit TheSecondDayFilm.com.

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