The French-American filmmakers, Jules Clément Naudet and Thomas Gédéon Naudet, initially thought they were shooting a documentary on a rookie firefighter on probation. The events worsened when an “odor of gas” was reported in an area in Lower Manhattan. When they arrived at the scene, the infamous 9/11 was happening.
The Naudet brothers were sure not to waste a chance as they shot their footage; more incidents were bound to happen when an aircraft suddenly collided with Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.
The Supposed Probie Documentary
The French-American filmmakers, Jules Clément Naudet and Thomas Gédéon Naudet, initially thought they were shooting a documentary on a rookie firefighter on probation. They had no idea that their video shooting would be revolutionary in the dreadful 9/11 event.
James Hanlon, Jules Naudet, and Gédéon Naudet’s documentary initially focused on the experiences of Antonio Benetatos. Antonio Benetatos was a beginner firefighter on probation assigned to the Engine 7/Ladder 1/Battalion 1 Firehouse on Duane Street in Lower Manhattan.
Things took a turn for the worst in the morning on the 11th day of September 2001, when an odor of gas appeared at Church and Lispenard Streets. Joseph Pfeifer, the Battalion Chief, ordered out his crew to respond to the report. Gédéon stayed with Antonio at the firehouse while Jules set out with Joseph Pfeifer. (Source: Tulsa World News)
The Documentation of 9/11
While Battalion 1’s crew investigated the odor of gas reported, the sound of an airplane surprised everybody as planes do not come often in Manhattan. Jules Naudet, who was currently filming, pointed the camera towards the American Airlines Flight 11 just in time to see the airplane hitting the first tower of the World Trade Center. Naudet’s footage is only one of the three recordings of the aircraft hitting the first tower; the other two footage were shot at a worse angle much farther away.
The first respondents on the scene were Battalion Chief Pfeifer and his crew. Naudet continued to follow along with the Battalion’s crew to record the rescue attempt. (Source: Tulsa World News)
The Involvement of the FDNY
The crew and several other chiefs of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) were at the lobby of the first tower when a second airplane hit Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. They remained there until the second tower eventually crumbled.
Meanwhile, at the firehouse, Gédéon Naudet was staying with Antonio when he received news of the situation at the World Trade Center. Antonio and Larry Burns, the former fire chief, headed immediately there. When Gédéon arrived near the site, police blocked him from continuing. Stuck nowhere near the beginner firefighter and his brother, he taped the streets near the World Trade Center instead.
Going back to film the firehouse, more and more firefighters were arriving from the disaster. The last of the firefighters came back with Jules Naudet and Antonio. Antonio was one of the last to return as he stayed at the wrecked site until 6 in the afternoon, scouting for survivors.
The Naudet brothers had shot footage that was essential in the remembrance of the dreadful 9/11 day. The attack of the airplanes at the two towers of the World Trade Center, the towers’ collapse, and the aftermath. The combined video clips produced the acclaimed 2002 film: 9/11.
The 9/11 film was celebrated with its raw depiction of the traumatic event, winning an Emmy and Peabody award. (Source: Indie Wire)