Several documentaries are in the works commemorating this year’s 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, but only one documentary can tout being directed by New York City legend Spike Lee. The filmmaker has been a fervent supporter of New York City since his career started, and he earned acclaim for reflecting on the state of the city after 9/11 in his dramatic feature “25th Hour.” Now comes “NYC Epicenters,” Lee’s new documentary series that explores NYC’s evolution through 9/11, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter protests.
Officially titled “NYC Epicenters 9/11➔2021½,” Lee’s latest documentary project includes interviews with over 200 subjects. Based on the first trailer below, the four-part documentary isn’t just a compendium of first responders but also Lee’s frequent film collaborators, congresspeople, and members of Lee’s own family.
The trailer is an emotional journey, championing the city’s humor, warmth, and resilience. Per HBO: “With Spike Lee’s singular vision and stylistic eye, ‘NYC Epicenters 9/11➔2021½’ is a documentary event that challenges and provokes as it probes and reflects on historic events. Emotionally weighted and provocative, the series bears profound witness to the lasting and complicated impact of these historical moments and ultimately stands as a towering homage to New York City and its residents.”
Lee remains one of film’s biggest raconteurs. Most recently, he served as jury president at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and accidentally revealed the winner of the Palme d’Or, the event’s top prize, earlier than anticipated.
“In my 63 years of life, I’ve learned people get a second chance. So this is my second chance. I apologize for messing up. It took a lot of suspense out of the night,” Spike Lee said later in the evening when it was time to officially name Julia Ducournau’s “Titane” the winner. Lee recently directed the musical documentary “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” which aired on HBO last year.
Watch the full trailer for “NYC Epicenters” below. The series debuts on HBO and HBO Max August 22.