Production Notes
by James Ronald Whitney, filmmaker
September 2001
10 Days Of Filming
2 3 4 5 6 7 1/8
9 10 11
    Day 1
    Day 2
    Day 3
    Day 4
    Day 5
16 17 18 19 20
  Day 10
21 22
23/30 24 25 26 27 28 29

everything came to a head. Richard and I found out about more and more people we knew who were killed in the attack--18 at my gym alone.

We were told that Gabby's foot had been found, so we attended her memorial and funeral on a very sad, very rainy day.

As her friends and family stood holding umbrellas, it felt as though the heavens were crying for the unexpected ending of this innocent woman's life. All Gabby ever wanted was a family--a wonderful husband and kids of her own. Suddenly, neither of her dreams would ever be realized. At 32, Gabby's life came to a violent, a tragic, and an unnecessary end.

In the meantime, Michele's family had an emotional breakdown. In fact, Michele's younger sister, Cindy, had to be treated with an anti-psychotic drug after becoming catatonic. At one point, the situation became so intense that when Dr. Gilda and I arrived at the house, Dominick, Cindy's husband, had taken off all the door hinges to prevent his wife from locking herself inside one of the rooms. The family was concerned that Cindy may harm herself. Michele's mother, who years earlier had undergone open heart surgery, was not in good health even before the attack. And now, Ethel was suddenly thrust into the position of dealing not only with Michele's disappearance, but with Cindy's condition, as well. Furthermore, Ethel was now caring for all 3 of her grandchildren--Cindy's 2 daughters, Jackie and Nicolette, and Michele's son, Nicholas, who still had no idea what had happened to his mom.

After that initial meeting with Shabbir's family, Thanbir called me and asked if he could come along with my film crew--which now consisted of Aaron, and me--on some of the shoots with Nicholas' family. Over the next few days, Thanbir learned a lot about cameras and sound equipment, and he ultimately became an incredible assistant. I think it was very important for him to just stay busy. Thanbir's family was still mourning, and he had not yet dealt with his own emotions. Thanbir's initial meeting with Michele's family was uncomfortably awkward, but the family was aware that this 16-year-old Muslim boy had lost his father, and although Thanbir did not go into their house that first day, they were all genuinely sympathetic. They were still convinced, however, that Michele would return home.
Nicholas and Thanbir instantly bonded--little did the 7-year-old motherless child know, he and his new friend had something unthinkably horrific in common. They were both without a parent.

As the schools began to reopen, the Muslim kids in Thanbir's neighborhood began carrying guns because they were getting tormented by some of the locals. In fact, even prior to the attack, Thanbir had been called "Terrorist," by some of his classmates. Convinced that many of these native New Yorkers were clueless about the details surrounding the Attack on America, Thanbir decided to make his own September 11th video for a school assignment, which was later honored with the "Most Creative School Project" award. During some down time on one of our shoots, Thanbir asked Nicholas to assistant him with his video. So while I talked to Michele's family, the two boys were off to Nick's favorite bakery--the location he'd chosen for his new Muslim friend's movie short titled, "Devoted." This was a particularly happy time for Nicholas. He laughed and played and ate far too many pastries--but all of that was about to change.

   © 2001-03 James Ronald Whitney
See the Web sites for the director's other films: Just, Melvin, and Games People Play
Comments or questions about the Web site contact the WebMaster at M2 Media Designs 2011