Thursday, September 21, 2006

Excerpts from "The Conference", PS22's award-winning September 11th Movie

In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11th 2001, the teachers at P.S.22 felt the responsibility to provide our students with an opportunity to take the day back from the terrorists. We decided to make a movie. The Conference looks at the events of 9/11 from a child’s perspective. The title is a reference to the historic Conference House in Staten Island, which has its own special September 11th connection. There the protagonist learns about other significant events that occurred on that date throughout history, and helps him put the tragic events of 2001 into a broader perspective. The real emotional punch of the film is in the interspersed documentary footage of actual conversations with P.S.22 students, in which they address all sorts of relevant issues. What’s it like to have a 9/11 birthday? What can we do about racism against Muslims? What’s it like for a kid whose name is Ossama? Did anything positive come out of the attacks? Is there healing after so great a tragedy? These are just some of the many issues we chose to tackle in our feature length presentation of The Conference. The students involved in the project truly represent the voice of hope, which makes for a viewing experience that is nothing short of cathartic.

The beginning & the premise.... "What's it like to have a 9/11 birthday in the aftermath of the tragedy?"

Ossama talks about how tough it was to come to a new school, just a few days before the September 11th tragedy occurred. Then the chorus sings an original song of mine called, "Sometimes I," to help him feel better.

Ossama learns he is a hero, in his own quiet way.

This segment shows the protagonist Steven, whose birthday is on Sept. 11th, learning that some wonderful things happened on his birthday too. This is one of the lightest(and funniest!!) scenes from the movie. In a Scrooge-like fashion, the spirit of Yesterday takes Steven back to the year that world famous soprano Jenny Lind came to New York to give her first American appearance....on Sept. 11th. In the scene she is rehearsing with her music coach, who is having trouble with his pupil AND his moustache (unintentional humor is always the funniest!!).....

Documentary footage. "What can we do to make the city & the world a better place?"

A documentary segment -- how & when the kids first found out about the attack....

A song from the film called "Comet Chameleon" (based on the Culture Club song "Karma Chameleon"), which was used for a scene that re-enacts a Halley's Comet appearance that occurred on September 11.

This scene is the end of the documentary portion of the film, in which the kids with Sept. 11 b-days make their birthday wishes for the upcoming year. They give us hope for a happy ending....

We used Bob Dylan's "Blowing In The Wind" as a closer.....


Anonymous said...


Mr. B said...

thanks! as meeting tori was the best DAY of my career, this movie was my personal favorite project of my career. :)

Tenaya Amelia said...

Hi Mr. B,

I'm so inspired by your work and your amazing kids! I've spent the last two nights watching all your videos, and they just fill my heart. You are nourishing these kids~I see it in their eyes!

Is there a way you could post the 911 movie in its entirety? I would like to watch the whole thing.

Wishing you all the best,
Fairfax, CA

P.S. When does the "Greatest PS22 Hits" come out? :-) I want a copy!

Mr. B said...

Thank you so so much, Tenaya. The 9/11 film is the project that I'm most proud of. Things are very busy right now with the chorus -- some big gigs coming up, but when things calm down, I'll see what I can do about posting the entire film for you. :) And I'll be looking forward to making that CD whenever it happens!! :)

rubyskiss said...

Mr. B-
Wow! I have been cruising around on the blog for the past three hours after stumbling upon you and the posse on a Perez Hilton post. I am a devoted Tori fan and it touches my heart to hear the love and understanding in the voices of your kids as they sing her words. Thank you!

And now, as though "1000 Oceans" wasn't incredible enough, I see this wonderful film. I am in awe. What your students (and yourself) have accomplished is truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing this with the world - these children seem to truly be capable of changing it.

To the chorus of PS22 - You should all be very proud. Keep raising your voices high. The world is listening.

Namaste -
New Haven, CT

Mr. B said...

three hours????? wow! i guess you're officially in the club! :) thanks lauren!

La Bella EMMY said...

awwwww this was my p.s.22 chorus year :) i miss you mr.b :( by the way it kemi adeoso and i know you remember me lol.

Mr. B said...

omg! how are you kemi??? so good to hear from you!! and yes, of course i remember you! (and your amazing soloing at the holiday show on "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day!")