August 23, 2011


SCA Alumnus Jim Whitaker Screens Doc


SCA alumnus Jim Whitaker’s directorial debut Rebirth, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2011. The full-length documentary is the result of a decade-long process of interviewing and collecting footage from survivors of 9-11 and watching the reconstruction of the disaster site. Rebirth will debut at the Laemmle's Royal Theatre Los Angeles on August 26th and will air on Showtime on September 11th.


Jim Whitaker '94. Photo Courtest of Tom Lappin/Oscilloscope Laboratories

“The birth of Rebirth started at ground zero and it actually evolved,” said Whitaker. “We went down there, saw the debris and felt this sense of anxiety. In a short period of time [I] started to feel the sense that the building might be here again –or some sort of building- that might be different. It gave me the inspiration to try and capture for an audience the feeling that I had of going from dread and anxiety to a place of hope.”

From early 2002 through 2009, the Rebirth film crew chronicled the lives of five people directly affected by 9/11. The participants include a survivor from an impact floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC); a firefighter who survived the collapse of the WTC but lost his best friend; a high school student who lost his mother; a young woman who lost her fiancé; and a construction worker who lost his brother, assisted with recovery efforts and is presently helping to build the Freedom Tower. Their narratives are the thread of recovery and resiliency from grief, loss and trauma that comprise the unique message of the film.

“As time went on, I realized, the emotional and human impact of what had happened was so strong, I felt it was really important to capture that,” said Whitaker. “The second phase became capturing the lives of the people who had been effected over a ten year period of time.”

Whitaker is an MFA graduate of the Peter Stark Program in 1994.

For more information on the film and the project, please visit –