A theater director attempts to put on a musical based on the events of September 11th, 2001.
While doing pre-production for this film in Washington D.C., I had a heart attack followed by a quintuple bypass which was fairly unique for a healthy thirty-nine year old. The doctors said I had a 99% occlusion in the artery known as 'the widow maker' and can't really explain why I survived. I got a cool ride in a helicopter, Last Rites and two months of being waited on hand and foot by my wife who was pregnant with our sixth child at the time. The shoot had to be pushed back but only for two months.
The day before the heart attack, I had met with the only friend I know who lost someone on September 11th. She showed me her father's grave at Arlington National Cemetery, the graves of family friends she lost that day and the memorial at the Pentagon where she serves as a docent. It was raining and she pointed to a window on the first floor and said, "That's where my dad was when he was killed"; It was a moment that almost made me give up on the movie entirely. After listening to her tell her story of that day and beyond, we went to a pub for a beer and, finally, to hear my very difficult movie pitch. I figured, after what she had just walked me through, if I could tell the story of Arbor Day to her without too much damage, then I could weather any other reactions that were bound to come when you make a motley musical comedy about the worst day in your country's history.
My friend knew she wouldn't like everything about the story I wanted to tell but she definitely thought it needed to be told. She and her sister used to make bets as to how long it would take for a politician to mention that day in one of their speeches. It's a burden to have the worst day of your life owned by an entire country, or for that matter, the entire world. When mythological moments happen in history, regardless as to which of the failures of man caused them, people in control are certain to put them to their use for as long as they can, that is, until the myths lose their power. The only inoculation against such manipulation, as the Daily Show and Colbert Report so astutely demonstrate, is comedy.
Selected Scenes and Songs
My name is Chuck Huber and this is my first movie as a director ...or it will be when you guys help me finish it. I helped make another movie called The Fragility of Seconds which took the top prize at the Houston International Film festival. I took my experience on that film, which was made with no script, three guys and a van full of film equipment in Mexico, and put it to good use on Arbor Day.
We shot most of Arbor Day - The Musical over nine days in March and June of 2011 with the help of two investors and most of our savings. Unfortunately, the money ran out and it just isn't possible to finish the edit, get it sound designed and submit it to festivals without a little more. Ten thousand dollars should get us over the finish line and with the amazing performances turned in by actors working for pennies, this film wants to be seen.
For fellow morans...
(If you don't know what a moran is then you probably won't understand this scene anyway.)
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