With the 20-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11 upcoming, a number of retrospectives will hit the airwaves as the nation looks back on an event that set the course for two decades of foreign policy and forever altered American life. On Monday, HBO announced that their retrospective is a project helmed by legendary director Spike Lee that will take a look at New York City, the site of the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center towers.
HBO announced on Monday a four-part documentary series called NYC Epicenters: 9/11 → 2021 ½ that will detail the attacks and its aftermath through the stories of those living and working in the city when it happened. Lee, who has chronicled American tragedy with HBO in his When the Levees Broke docuseries about the devastation in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, will take the same approach here.
Touting hundreds of interviews and with 20 years of hindsight, the series is primed to re-examine the impact that event had not only on America as a whole, but its most famous city. Here’s the description from HBO:
Lee conducted over 200 interviews for the documentary series which features first-hand accounts from residents of all walks of life, including first responders, politicians and journalists alongside Lee and his own family and friends, complemented by a treasure trove of visual imagery. The quintessential New York filmmaker uses his unique sensibilities to craft a multi-faceted mosaic of the city as it deals with some of the most life-changing events of the last twenty years. Beginning with the ongoing global pandemic and the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement, Lee traverses through time to the devastating terrorist attacks of 9/11. This provocative series is an epic chronicle of life, loss and survival in what Lee calls “the greatest city on this God’s earth.” NYC EPICENTERS 9/11➔2021½ captures the flavor and heart of New York City, exploring its resilience and grit and affirming its innate ability to rebound, rebuild and endure.
The YouTube trailer’s description confirms some big names involved, some of which are featured in the trailer. Expect to see interviews with Jon Stewart, Rosie Perez, Jeffrey Wright, and John Turturro as well as musicians, politicians such as Chuck Schumer, Bill De Blasio and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. There are also interviews with members of the New York Fire and Police Departments as well as with those who worked at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the attacks.
The first episode of NYC Epicenters: 9/11 → 2021 ½ will hit HBO on August 22, with the next two airing the following Sundays and leading up to a finale debuting on September 11 at 10 pm.