As you know yesterday was the 9/11 anniversary, and as it does every year it got me thinking about how crazy that time was. Like allot of people who were in the city that day I was in a daze for about a year following that attack. It’s crazy to think this now, but at the time I remember not knowing if I could ever laugh again or enjoy a happy day in NY the way I used to. I cried, my family cried, we all cried together. It’s a healed over scar now, but for a full year following that day it was an open festering wound.
Fast forward a couple of years after the attack, NYC seemed to be coming out of it’s post 9/11 daze. People seemed to be laughing again, kids were running in the park, and things seemed to be returning to business as usual. I started to produce a cable access show with my friend George Rivas called IndieWorld. It was a showcase to exhibit films from indie filmmakers in NYC. This was pre-youtube and there was no way other than film festivals for filmmakers to exhibit their work to the public. Not only was this show my introduction into filmmaking it was also allot of fun. We even got a write up in the NY Post by film critic V.A. Musetto. In the first episode of Indieworld one of the videos we aired was a music video for a song called Native New Yorker. It was a tribute to New York from Rap duo Stripes & Fantastic. This video directed by Ross Sebek aired for a few seconds on a MTV show called Direct Effect. It was competing with other viewer submitted videos for full air time and I don’t think it won. So it just sat there and no one saw it because again this was pre-youtube. Being a Native New Yorker coming out of mourning for the towers I thought despite the horrible lighting that it would be perfect for our show.
Unlike other post 9/11 tribute videos what made this video special is that it was shot a few weeks before the attacks with shots of the towers prominently featured. This wasn’t archival footage, it wasn’t old news photos, this was at the time the last images of the towers I had seen before they fell shot by Ross himself. Think about this from a pre-youtube perspective. Now you can search for images like that online and find whatever exists. Back then you could not do that. The creative arc of this video spans a pre 9/11 innocence, and a post 9/11 reality. That made it pretty magical to me. That old adage of telling someone you love them before they pass never rang so true as it did in this video. To this date I think it is the 2nd best tribute to New York ever after Sinatra’s New York, New York. Yeah better than Jay Z’s New York tribute.
Check it out along with the NY Post write up for our show.