HBO explores September 11 through the eyes of Stuyvesant High School students with IN THE SHADOW OF THE TOWERS: STUYVESANT HIGH ON 9/11

By HBO Latin America | Posted on 2019-08-29

Debuting on September 11th, the documentary looks back on the infamous terrorist attack on New York City through the former students of Stuyvesant High School, located blocks away from the Twin Towers

Miami, FL, August 29, 2019 – HBO announces the exclusive premiere of IN THE SHADOW OF THE TOWERS: STUYVESANT HIGH ON 9/11, a new documentary that revisits the events of that fateful day through conversations with eight New Yorkers – then teenagers -- who attended Stuyvesant, the prestigious New York City specialized public high school, located blocks from the World Trade Center. The film premieres on Wednesday, September 11 at 5PM AST*, only on HBO and HBO GO.

A story about how it felt to be a young person at ground zero, the film explores the ways in which September 11th shaped these students’ lives and their dreams for America, and how it continues to shape our world today. Documentary participants include Taresh Batra, Catherine Choy, Ilya Feldsherov, Mohammad Haque, Liz O’Callahan, Himanshu Suri, Michael Vogel and Carlos Williams.

When the Twin Towers were attacked on September 11, 2001, students had just started their day at Stuyvesant – one of the first days of the school year – when it was suddenly interrupted by disaster. “Absolutely everything changed that day,” recounts Ilya Feldsherov, who was 15 at the time.

The former students describe the chaos of the day – witnessing the planes crash, fleeing from the encroaching dust cloud from the towers’ collapse, and their harrowing journeys home, often miles away in the city’s outer boroughs, including Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

As the teens poured out onto the streets, they tried to find each other and stick together – especially students of South Asian descent, who immediately feared becoming victims of misdirected anger. Himanshu Suri and Taresh Batra recall walking with young women wearing hijabs who were cursed at by men on the street. Mohammad Haque, the son of Bangladeshi immigrants, remembers realizing he was in a war zone from the moment he called his father, who begged him to “please just survive.”

Representing students from various immigrant communities and backgrounds, the participants speak about the backlash against minorities that followed the attack and the deep friendships with classmates that got them through. 

IN THE SHADOW OF THE TOWERS: STUYVESANT HIGH ON 9/11 was directed and produced by Amy Schatz; editor Tom Patterson; director of photography Alex Rappoport; music composed by Keith Kenniff; co-producers Katy Garfield and Sascha Weiss; consulting producer, Diane Kolyer; production executive, Susan Benaroya; supervising producer, Sara Rodriguez; executive producers for HBO, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.