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9/11 Kids is about a unique group of Americans: the 16 schoolchildren who were with President George W. Bush on the morning of September 11, 2001.
Many will remember the moment: a group of adorable second graders reading My Pet Goat to the President when all of a sudden White House Chief of Staff Andy Card hurries over and whispers to Bush: ”America is under attack.” Never before in history has the President been caught on camera at the exact moment he learns of something so momentous.
The place was Emma E. Booker Elementary school in Sarasota, Florida. The kids, all six or seven years old, were chosen because they were some of the best readers at Booker, a place where test scores were way up compared to other schools in the district. It was the perfect place for Bush to promote his education program, No Child Left Behind. September 11, 2001 was supposed to be about education, these children, and hope for the future.
The film tracks down the kids today to find out what’s happened since. They are all in their mid-20s, trying to find their footing in a country and world that changed so much after 9/11. Their stories are narratively rich and diverse: some have been remarkably successful, while others have fallen on hard times and the film follows their struggle to overcome shocking personal tragedies.
Produced and created by Steve Gamester, the film has been commissioned by documentary Channel’s Jordana Ross and Sandra Kleinfield. Elizabeth St. Philip serves as Director and Writer. The executive Producer for Saloon Media is Michael Kot.
9/11 Kids is a 2020 Official Documentary Features selection at the American Black Film Festival, a 2020 official selection at the Sarasota Film Festival, a 2020 official selection at the DOC NYC Festival and was awarded a Rogers Audience Award at the Hot Docs Film Festival.