Director and screen writer Robert Randall films a shot of actress Rachelle Krebs on Friday in a scene for an upcoming TV movie about 9/11. (Amy Vogelsang Photo)
The lights are on, [auth] the camera is set and the airline passengers and flight attendants are all in position.
The day is once again Sept. 11, 2001. Many people have stories about the heroic acts of individuals during the traumatic events in New York City, but so many of those stories have never been told.
Now, 12 years later, a man is attempting to use a camera to recreate a dramatization of that day on screen in order to share stories of some of the unspoken heroes.
From a subway operator who manually unlocked each door and saved hundreds by backing out of the World Trade Towers before they collapsed to a man who was on the 65th floor of the North Tower and made it his job to help people get out, Robert Randall’s TV mini-series aims to weave many stories together.
“It’s a good thing to celebrate the courageous and humane things people do for each other,” Randall said.
Coming down with some of his actors from Denver, Randall’s objective is to use the tragedy to portray the “unsung heroes” who essentially rose from the rubble.
“We’re portraying (9/11) as a tragedy that happened to Americans, but also that Americans stepped up heroically and were doing the right thing,” Randall explained.
In his quest to film the television movie, Randall was brought to Roswell. He needed to use an airplane to re-create scenes from the plane that hit the North Tower, and although it proved to be a difficult task, Stewart Industries International Inc. was able to provide one for him at Roswell’s airport.
This also allowed for some Roswell locals to participate in the film as extras. Starting at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, volunteers sat in airplane seats, occasionally having a speaking role and other times being there as fillers.
One local who was involved in not only the acting but also the organization was Eddie Burns. Serving as a local contact through Grace Community Church, Burns helped get Randall the extras needed. But primarily, Burns has served as the first officer and co-pilot in the movie.
“I can’t wait for this to go to production,” Burns said. “I’m kind of excited about it.”
Another actress, one of the flight attendants, came with Randall from Denver to help shoot this scene. Yvonca Fajardo said her husband works with Randall, so both of them were asked to star in the film. This being her first acting job of any kind, Fajardo has really enjoyed it, especially the new contacts she has made.
“(My favorite part has been) meeting all the great people,” she said. “I’ve never acted before so this has been really fun.”
Randall said, in general, he didn’t have much trouble finding actors.
“People are inspired by the story,” he said. “They want to be part of something beyond them that is positive,” he said.
There also is a companion book being written along with the film. The working title is “John Gray’s 9/11,” and it is being written by the film’s executive producer Jeff Wade.
His main message to those making and involved with the film, and also those who will hopefully get a chance to watch the final product is simple:
“Hey, you guys, remember 9/11.”