Yard 44 and NBC News Studios have announced the release of their critically acclaimed film Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11. Officially selected by the
Toronto International Film Festival as its centrepiece film to commemorate
the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, this unique and innovative documentary
will air on SKY and NOW TV in January
2022 in time for the BAFTA TV Awards.
Directed by filmmakers David Belton(Shooting Dogs, Captive) and Bjrn Johnson(Dont F**k with Cats, Bad Sport), Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11 unearths a treasure trove of
hidden video testimony to create an original, immersive story of 9/11 and
its life-changing impact - both then and now. A revelation midway through
the film delivers an emotionally uplifting portrait of the power of the
In the months following the attacks, nearly six hundred people – survivors
and eyewitnesses from New York, Shanksville and the Pentagon – entered a
simple plywood video booth created by the artist, Ruth Sergel. Inside this
safe space, ordinary people used a self-operated camera to share their
personal memories and record their deepest feelings of trauma and loss.
For twenty years, this remarkable archive remained virtually unseen, until
it was rediscovered by Johnson who, together with Belton, envisioned a film
that brought new meaning to a much-told historical moment. Weaving dozens
of the personal testimonies together with archival footage of the attacks,
the result is a startling and visceral work that delivers a raw,
confessional intensity rarely seen in conventional documentary.
Director Bjrn Johnson said,
This was a deeply personal film to make. Having experienced the sudden
loss of my mum just before 9/11, the instant life-changing impact of
the attacks had always struck a powerful chord. For years I wanted to
make a film that explored the trauma I imagined the victims families
were going through. A trauma that I suspected mirrored my own.
Discovering Ruth Sergels incredible archive collection finally gave me
the chance to do that. Her simple self-operated video booth offered
people that rare thing in life, a safe place free of questions or
agenda, to talk openly and of their own accord. The emotional,
transcendent truth that emerged was unlike anything I had ever seen
before and became absolutely integral to the tone of our film.
In a twist which broadens the narrative beyond its subject matter, some of
the original contributors return twenty years later to a new video booth to
reflect on living with their experience. Intertwining hope with grief, joy
with loss, the film becomes a profound and timely meditation on the power
of human resilience.