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Sundance buzz movie 'Rebirth' coming to theaters and TV screens

April 1, 2011 |  3:48 pm

“Rebirth,” the documentary about a diverse group of people affected by the Sept. 11 attacks that got a rave reception at Sundance, is coming to TV screens and movie theaters.

Jim Whitaker’s tearjerking tale has been acquired by independent distributor Oscilloscope for theatrical release and Showtime for a television airing. The movie will open in theaters in August and play on the cable network in September, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Arranged in the manner of Michael Apted's "7-Up" series, the documentary follows the group of victims –- they include a woman who lost her fiancé, a teenager who lost his mother and a firefighter who lost his best friend –- as they seek to recover over a period of seven years. Whitaker gets together with each of the victims numerous times during those seven years. He starts right after the attacks, then conducts annual interviews with them through 2009.

At a Sundance screening we attended, the audience was in tears through most of the film before offering a standing ovation when it ended.

The film, which comes from a Hollywood producer making his directorial debut, also includes ambitious time-lapse images of the site itself in the decade since the World Trade Center''s Twin Towers were destroyed. Look for the film as a major point of discussion around the 9/11 anniversary and a documentary contender come next year's award season.


Rebirth redefines 9/11

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: A scene from "Rebirth." Credit: Sundance Film Festival