Based on true events, 9/11 tells the story of five (5) people trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center. As the sun rises in the New York City on the morning of September 11, 2001, the day seems no different. September 11 or 9/11 is a date that has become a reference point in American history. It is a moment by which our lives are divided into “before” and “after.” What we experienced and shared as a people on that fateful day has no equal in our past.

In the World Trade Center (WTC), a billionaire sits in his attorney’s office awaiting a divorce hearing against his wife. In a west side apartment, a bike messenger kisses a 5-year old daughter and sings her “Happy Birthday” before leaving for work. A maintenance man gets dispatched to help a WTC tenant with his lock. In an Upper East Side apartment, a young model musters the courage to break up with her sugar daddy. As random as random can be, these individuals step into a crowded WTC elevator.

Wrapped up in their own world, they all ride silently hearing only the sound of the elevator giving notice of each floor. When the elevator stops on the 34th floor, it empties leaving only these five behind. Moments later…. their world changes as the collision of a jet into the North Tower incapacitates the elevator.

During these critical minutes, a story of courage, faith and the will to live unfolds.

Deeper Look into the Disaster

“We want to tell a story about five people from different backgrounds, from different places that comes in to tell the story of their survival,” says 9/11 star Olga Fonda. She plays Tina, one of the five who is trapped inside the elevator of the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Numerous books, documentaries, and other forms of media have already been created in an attempt to help us come to terms with the events that transpired on 9/11. How could this film be different? To answer that question, the filmmakers decided to tell the story from the inside, a point-of-view not often presented in relation to this tragedy. Much of the imagery of that day was captured externally, such as the sight of the World Trade Center being hit and ultimately, crumbling.

In contrast, 9/11 comprises an interior story, in every sense of the word. The setting being an elevator in the North Tower of the World Trade Center; the characters are five individuals who randomly board and thus witness their fates intertwine in a way none could have anticipated. The film provides an intimate portrait of individuals who are forced by circumstance to attempt to survive America’s greatest tragedy. Although less seen than the stories chronicled from the outside, the interlocking stories inside the elevator are no less real or dramatic. They are stories rooted in the reality of what some people endured that day.

Director and co-writer Martin Guigui, came by the story through actor-producer Deacon Drawdy, who had optioned the stage play, Elevator. Initially, Guigui had some doubts and questioned why make this into a film now? Ultimately though, “[I] couldn’t get the story out of my head. I saw it as an opportunity to explore not just the issues around this horrific event, but to plunge into the humanity that arises out of the circumstance,” Guigui recalls.

“It’s a story about heroes, it’s a story about really honouring those that sacrificed everything and those that didn’t make it, and those that did,” says Charlie Sheen who plays Jeffrey Cage.

“This is one that really focuses on what happened, a more internal scope,” he continues.

Clearly, “9/11” movie is a more internal perspective of what happened during the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. And we get to experience what was it like stuck in that elevator. Every minute matters and we must not lose hope to have the will to survive.

Starring Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men), Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act), Luis Guzman (The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3), Gina Gershon (Showgirls), Wood Harris (Justified), Jacqueline Bisset (Dancing on the Edge (BBC), Welcome to New York), Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries) and Bruce Davison (ABC TV’s The Fosters).

 “9/11” movie opens in Philippine cinemas September 13, distributed by Rafaella Films International.

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