The Sarasota Film Festival is presenting a special screening of REBIRTH, a documentary that follows five survivors of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Taking place at the Venice Performing Arts Center on Saturday September 19, 2015 at 6 PM, it is the first event for SFF since the festival ended in April. “What most people don’t realize is that the Sarasota Film Festival works very hard off season to maintain our education and outreach efforts. The screening of REBIRTH is a direct reflection of that,” explains Jedediah Shoemaker, Associate Director of SFF.
John Secor, former New Yorker and current SFF Festival Producer, brought this film to the attention of the Board of Directors. John discussed with me the significance of the film and why the Sarasota Film Festival chose to highlight this particular documentary to commemorate 9-11.
John had been volunteering at the Central Park Conservancy for some time when he saw that the 9-11 Museum was looking for docents. Ready to take on a new challenge, he applied along with hundreds of others to compete for the coveted positions. He was hired and then it was time to begin the 16 week-long training course. Deeply immersed in the subject matter, John actually began to develop Secondary Trauma, the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another. Its symptoms mimic those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, John knew how important it was for him to continue on at the museum in order to share the victims’ stories to preserve the memory of our fallen heroes.
During his course study, John had the chance to listen to Tim Brown speak. Tim is one of the subjects of REBIRTH, who will be in attendance at the SFF event. Tim recounted his story in front of the class and John made an instant connection with him that day. Once John left NYC and began working with the Sarasota Film Festival as a producer, it was a natural to screen the documentary here due to Sarasota County’s unfortunate connection to the tragedy. John and SFF know how deeply important it is to keep the narrative of 9-11 alive and hope that you will purchase your ticket today to support this extraordinary film. You can also listen to John discuss his thoughts on the film today at 5 PM on the Nilon Report on WSRQ.
“Just as importantly, for the generation too young to view that day personally rather than through the lens of recent history, it is a reflection on trauma, grief, and the process of healing in a way that reminds us all of the importance of empathy toward those around us,” said Jedediah Shoemaker, SFF Associate Director. In that vein, proceeds from the event will support SFF’s growing youth education and community outreach efforts. SFF is currently seeking underwriters so that Venice high school and middle school students, as well as local first responders and veterans can attend the screening for free.