When I was a young girl I had always fantasized about receiving an award for Best Actress when I grew up, and in 1988 I declared Theater Arts as one of my majors at Hunter College. I took a heavy concentration of Acting and Movement classes- I learned how to “breathe” and “move” with fellow student Judy Reyes who would later go on to TV’s Scrubs fame, and almost broke my knee after being thrown on a wooden prop bed when I did a scene with Vin Diesel before he became Vin Diesel– I was about 100 lbs at the time and his Riddick strength sent me flying. While I had fun in class and my grades were good, I just never felt comfortable playing someone else. And the real truth was, save for acting a fool, I wasn’t very good at acting, nor the hustle to get jobs that went along with it, so I abandoned my dreams of red carpets and award shows, and followed my dream of opening a gift shop instead.
It was a proud, yet incredibly surreal and bittersweet experience for me to join the Rebirth team as we received the Peabody Award in 2012. I guess my childhood dream sorta came true, but totally not in the way I expected. Here is the program and the reasons why Rebirth was a recipient of this prestigious award. Who woulda thunk my mug would be on the same page as one of my favorite drama series ever?
By turns poignant and exhilarating, this documentary appraises the impact of the 9/11 attacks on five individuals. Their stories illuminate movement from anger and grief to hope, purpose and renewed spirit.
The documentary film Rebirth is a prescient and patient project by Jim Whitaker. The year after the 9/11 attacks in New York City, he had the foresight to recruit five people whose lives had been dramatically altered by the destruction of the World Trade Center towers: a severely burned survivor, a teenager who lost his mother, a young woman who lost her fiancée, a construction worker whose brother was killed, and a firefighter who lost a coworker who was his best friend. Starting in 2002, Whitaker interviewed each of them annually through 2009. We see them in close-up against a black backdrop, remembering, describing scars both physical and emotional, expressing disbelief and anger, occasionally choking back tears. After each year’s interviews, Whitaker inserts video clips and photos of what was going on at Ground Zero. The 9/11 Memorial slowly takes shape, and the five people age, change appearance and speak candidly of how they’ve adjusted and begun to get on with their lives. It’s a time-lapse study in acceptance and healing, a lesson that speaks not just to surviving 9/11 but to our fundamental existence. For outlining a path to hope and renewal with grace, forthrightness and quiet eloquence, Rebirth receives a Peabody Award.
Producers: Jim Whitaker, David Solomon. Director: Jim Whitaker. Director of Photography: Thomas Lappin. Editors: Kevin Filippini, Brad Fuller.
Here are some pics of the team, and no, I am not pregnant- chalk the belly up to gassy bloat from the lunch that was served during the ceremony.