Jules and Gedeon Naudet

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Jules Clément Naudet (born Paris, France, April 26, 1973) and Thomas Gédéon Naudet (born Paris, France, March 27, 1970) are French-born American filmmakers. The brothers, residents of the United States since 1989, were in New York City at the time of the September 11 attacks to film a documentary on members of the Engine 7, Ladder 1 firehouse in Lower Manhattan. Jules captured the only clear footage of the first jet, American Airlines Flight 11, hitting the North tower of the World Trade Center. The footage shot in 2001 would become the 2002 documentary, 9/11.[1] The video camera that Jules was using that captured Flight 11 crashing into the World Trade Center is now on display in the American History Museum in Washington D.C..[2]

Camera used by Jules Naudet that captured Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center

Biographies[edit]

Jules and Gedeon Naudet moved to New York City with their parents when they were teenagers.[1] Both graduated from the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 1995.[1] The Naudet brothers became American citizens in 1999.[1]

Gedeon and Jules released their first film, Hope, Gloves and Redemption in 2000, which centered on young boxers in training in the Bronx and East Harlem. The film included coverage of the 1998 New York Daily News Golden Gloves tournament.

Jules Naudet is married to Jacqueline Longa, with two children.[3]

9/11[edit]

Main article: 9/11 (film)
The filmed impact of Flight 11 as it crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

The Naudet brothers were in the process of making a documentary on New York firefighters, following Antonio "Tony" Benetatos, a rookie firefighter or "probie", through his experiences in New York City Fire Department (FDNY) academy training and into a firehouse. Although they gained great insight into the day-to-day lives of the firefighters, there were no major fires to film (leading Jules to jokingly label their film as a "cooking show", due to filming the firefighters taking turns making dinner).

On the morning of September 11, Jules accompanied several firefighters as they headed out to investigate reports of a gas leak in Lower Manhattan, leaving Gédéon in the firehouse to continue filming with Benetatos. On the way to Lower Manhattan, American Airlines Flight 11 flew right over Jules, and he subsequently filmed its head-on collision with the North Tower. (Although the plane is not seen in the footage until the impact is about to happen, the distinct sound of the jet's engines and the firefighters' reactions can be heard clearly beforehand.)

Jules went with the FDNY into the North Tower as they responded to the incident. He entered the lobby of the North Tower with the FDNY and filmed the fire chiefs as they set up a command post and sent firefighters up the stairs. While inside, Jules filmed the evacuating civilians and the firefighters' reactions to subsequent events, including the second plane hitting the South Tower, the debris and "jumpers" falling from the upper floors, and obstructed communications. When the South Tower began to collapse, he took shelter with Chief Pfiefer and the remaining firefighters, using his camera's floodlight to help them gather the wounded, lost, and deceased as they evacuated the North Tower. He followed the firefighters as they headed north and tried to establish another command post.

Meanwhile, Gédéon filmed Benetatos (by now, the only firefighter left in the firehouse) taking calls from the other departments, but eventually took to the streets out of worry for Jules. He walked for some time, filming people's reactions and the damage done by flying debris, and managed to film the impact of United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower. Realizing that he could not get any closer to the WTC, he returned to the firehouse, where he filmed the arrival of various off-duty firefighters. He caught the arrival of retired Battalion Chief Larry Burns, but was unable to follow him and Benetatos as they left for the WTC. Gédéon resumed filming the people's reactions as the South Tower collapsed before returning to the firehouse and joining a trio of off-duty firefighters as they headed out to the disaster area. Unable to follow the firefighters to the North Tower, he remained in the area and filmed his surroundings.

When the North Tower collapsed, the Naudets fled with the rest of the people still in the area. Jules and Chief Pfiefer took shelter between two cars before returning to the WTC to assess the situation; less than a block away, Gédéon helped a FBI agent carry a civilian who had been overcome by the dust before making his way to a deli to recuperate. Worrying for Jules, he attempted to return to the WTC's ruins, but was turned away by police patrols. He then returned to the firehouse and filmed the returning firefighters' reactions to the attacks. Meanwhile, Jules returned with Chief Pfiefer's group and had an emotional reunion with his brother.

The Naudets' video footage became some of the most comprehensive on-site coverage of the 9/11 attacks in New York. Their film was one of only two sources of video footage of Flight 11 striking the World Trade Center, the other being a video shot by Pavel Hlava (an immigrant worker from the Czech Republic); additionally, a series of web camera images from Wolfgang Staehle show the approach of Flight 11 and the after-impact.

Post-9/11 projects[edit]

In 2004 came news of a new film project, Seamus, a "coming-of-age" story, with screenplay by the brothers and their 9/11 partner, James Hanlon.

The brothers' latest film project was a documentary entitled In God's Name, exploring current events through the thoughts of 12 spiritual leaders:

It was first broadcast in the United States on December 23, 2007.[4]

A companion book to the film, called In God's Name: Wisdom from the World's Great Spiritual Leaders, was published by National Geographic Books in March 2008.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Sherrow, Rita (September 11, 2011). "Documentary filmmakers captured moments of 9/11 tragedy". Tulsa World. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ http://amhistory.si.edu/september11/collection/record.asp?ID=65
  3. ^ Friend, David (2007). Watching the World Change: The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. p. 194. ISBN 1-84511-545-7. Retrieved Oct 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ "In God's Name on CBS – Home". Alpha.cbs.com. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ "''In God's Name'' book from National Geographic". Shop.nationalgeographic.com. September 11, 2001. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 

External links[edit]