I really hope this awful documentary isn't real
September 10, 2011 6:20 PM   Subscribe

Huge WTF: Is this real? Caution: 9/11 Trigger

Okay, aside from the shit production value on this awful little documentary, I am having trouble calibrating my shit detectors.
Is this real? Did some dad really agree to let a film crew mike him as he told his son that the boy's mother had died in the WTC attack? The boy's reaction seems genuine (I guess I don't know), but I have a really hard time imagining this could possibly play out like it does in the video.

I apologize for this question, I have been avoiding all 9/11 related items as best I can, but this got posted on my FB by a rather credible individual who claims she is distantly related to the family in the video.

But seriously, what the fuck? Real/Not Real?
posted by msali to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It appears to be from a documentary called Telling Nicholas. Here is a little more background on the film from the Village Voice review of its screening at Tribeca:
In the disturbing tabloid documentary Telling Nicholas, the most controversial of the nonfiction films in the [2002] Tribeca festival, filmmaker James Ronald Whitney spots a poster of a seven-year-old boy with his mother, who went missing on September 11. On September 12, Whitney journeys to the child's Staten Island home to discover a dysfunctional family in denial and unable to tell the boy his mother may be dead. Enlisting the help of TV talk-show therapist Dr. Gilda Carle, Whitney and crew enable the grieving process à la Sally Jessy, capturing the grandmother's fainting spells, a sister's ability to see "negative entities," and an apostolic father who takes 10 days to finally talk to his son.
So, sounds like it is exploitative and sensationalistic, but, yes, real.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:29 PM on September 10, 2011

Best answer: I found this article written by the kid in the video.
posted by threeants at 6:29 PM on September 10, 2011 [5 favorites]

It's a real documentary. I saw it on HBO Go earlier this week.
posted by nuala at 6:29 PM on September 10, 2011

According to this article, it won an Emmy, but the whole concept makes me sick. What kind of parent exploits their kid's grief like that?
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:33 PM on September 10, 2011 [6 favorites]

A parent who is also grieving, and who thinks the documentary might be helpful.
posted by gjc at 6:35 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

The production company has produced one other thing, according to IMDB.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:39 PM on September 10, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the swift answers everybody. I was absolutely revolted when I saw this, and really had hoped it wasn't real.
posted by msali at 6:56 PM on September 10, 2011

I just want to note that in the article threeants linked and quoted, he never explains how it made a bad situation worse. More that he was just a 9/11 victim and how he had to learn to deal with it. The quote that threeants posted is all that he talks about the documentary.
posted by royalsong at 6:58 PM on September 10, 2011

Here's more from Nicholas.

That the director/production company haven't done more work doesn't mean anything. His first film was very provocative, which is probably why HBO jumped for it.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:28 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just went to read this young man's side of the story, and what he says about being "crushed" that bin Laden was killed because he now can't look him in the face and say he forgives him... For someone who was saved, it sounds rather selfish and that he is still not really letting go. I feel some empathy for him.
posted by TrishaLynn at 2:45 PM on September 11, 2011

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