WTC VIEW Ten Years Later

We've all blinked and ten years have passed. Dreams have been born, died and realized and one of the best ways to view the years passing in through the terrific film WTC VIEW whose celebrating it's' 10th Anniversary.

This critically praised and captivating portrait of a young New Yorker's search for a room-mate for his apartment and genuine connection in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks is getting a first time digital release on March 3, via iTunes, for its 10th anniversary. 

The film, featuring Michael Urie (Ugly Betty, Buyer & Cellar), originally premiered in NYC at the New Festival in 2005. After that it hit the festivals circuit and had its national broadcast premiere on MTV's Logo Channel, airing on the 5th anniversary of 9/11 in 2006. It was also released on DVD by TLA Video.

Now, after being out of circulation for a few years, the film will be available for the first time in its original HD format. It will go on sale on iTunes March 3, 2015 for purchase and rental.

Director Brian Sloan is thrilled to get the film out to a whole new national audience with iTunes, 10 years after its debut. "The film serves as a time capsule of a unique moment in the city's history," said Sloan. "Everyone knows what happened on 9/11. This film is about what happened in those days and weeks after, what life in the city was like during an extraordinary moment in New York and the nation's history. I'm thrilled that it will now be available to millions of people who might want to learn about that time and also see the story of 9/11 from a different perspective; that of a young man struggling to survive in New York." 

The film is also unique for introducing the world to the talents of Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) who made his feature film debut in WTC View, after having performed the lead role in the original Fringe festival stage production of WTC View when it started out as a play.

Urie made his memorable feature film debut in the movie and received strong critical support for his remarkable performance, launching his career as a uniquely gifted stage and film actor. Michael, who was living in New York on 9/11 and was a student at Julliard at the time, has a strong personal connection to the material because in many ways it reflected his life in the city that fall.

What is most remarkable is that 10 years after the film's release, acts of terrorism continue to occur (witness the Paris shootings last month), and the resonant themes of the film - of healing, loss, catharsis, and the universal search for human connection - are stronger than ever.

Here is a quick Q and A with director Brian Sloan-

myNewyorkeye: How has New York City changed since you made this film?  It’s such a unique and important "snap shot" of a serious moment that destroyed and also shaped so many lives?

Brian Sloan: The city has changed immensely, both since 9/11 and since the film premiered in 2005. I think the thing that surprises me the most is how the city has actually thrived in the years after 9/11, growing both in population and in the number of people coming to visit the city too. I read somewhere that the subway ridership is at levels not seen since the late 1940s! I would guess the terrorists who plotted the attacks were planning on the opposite happening, that people would be scared to visit and live the city after their attack. So in that way the city’s resilience and resurgence is incredibly heartening and hopeful too. If there is any negative side to this it’s the fact that security and the general police presence in the city has grown just as much. I understand the need for safety during these times when terrorists threats can still cause terrible harm and destruction, like the recent attacks in Paris and Boston. But at the same time, I feel that the “security state” mentality is sometimes so overwhelming that it’s gotten to the point of being overkill. But those are the times we live in, unfortunately. I have heard stories of blackout drills and rationing in NYC during World War II so maybe this type of policing and surveillance is the price we pay for being at war today. But it does make me long sometimes for life in the city pre-9/11 which felt free-er and not as tense, especially when it came to big events like Pride or the Fourth of July.

myNewYorkeye:  What’s the most exciting thing, to you, about being a “New York" filmmaker?

Brian Sloan: I teach filmmaking here in New York and one thing I constantly am telling my students is that since they are living in New York, they have no excuse when they say they don’t have any ideas for their script. Inspiration is everywhere in this city!  You can find it walking down any block, just with the range of faces you might pass on the street, or taking a subway ride, where an impromptu performance on a train can happen. On top of that, you have the immense arts and culture scene here which is just astounding; every night there is a new play, film, performance, concert, gallery opening, etc. to experience. For me, going to the theatre in New York is a constant and reliable source of inspiration and ideas, and a great chance to discover new and exciting talents before they become big stars. It’s a filmmaker’s dream in that sense, as there is no lack of talented actors—they are everywhere and always looking for the next big opportunity.

myNewYorkeye: As a storyteller, what’s the most important part of your process?

Brian Sloan: I would say that rewriting is key. People often focus on that “a-ha” moment as being the number one thing in the creative process. Well, I can tell you  that I have had countless “a-ha” moments but the only way those become more than mere moments is by writing, and re-writing, and then re-writing some more until you are so sick of re-writing, that you take another final re-writing pass. Only to re-write again a week later. Do you get my point? :)  That part of the writing process is the key to focusing your story and figuring out what is essential, what needs to be re-done, and what needs to be cut. It is the hardest part of the storytelling process too because it demands persistence and trying to look anew at a scene or a section of script that you’ve read a hundred times. But I know from experience it’s the only way the work gets done, and that a story eventually takes shape from all that work. “WTC View” was a prime example of that. The first draft was relatively quick, maybe 2-3 weeks. But it was those 5-6 months after for the play, and then an additional 8 months working on the screenplay, that truly honed it into the compelling story that it is today. 

myNewYorkeye: Please finish this sentence:  “What I love best about being a story teller is….”

Brian Sloan: Surprising people. I love getting the audience thinking something is going to happen and then it doesn’t, or that something completely unexpected happens which shocks, surprises, and sometimes maybe even delights them. I think there was that element with “WTC View” where people keep seeing these visitors come to Eric’s apartment and wonder, “is this the one who becomes the roommate”. Especially when it comes to the Wall Street guy Alex, where he and Eric really start getting along. But then there’s a few twists and surprises to Alex’s story which take the whole film in a new direction I don’t think people expected when he first showed up. So I like creating that element of surprise and keeping the audience on their toes. It’s also one of the biggest challenges as a storyteller too but one that I always enjoy taking on.