Lloyd Levin, Producer of United 93
David Alan Basche: stars in United 93 as Todd Beamer
Ann Hoog: Library of Congress, curator of "September 11 Documentary Project".
Paula Berry: Lost husband in WTC, on advisory council of Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
Brian Lehrer, morning anchor on NPR's NYC affiliate, WNYC
Though ostensibly about the role of art in response to the events of September 11, this panel essentially functioned like an expanded press conference for Paul Greengrass' United 93. Lehrer, who is usually nothing if not a muscular journalist, did his best to stir up a discussion, but those involved with the film brilliantly deflected each attempt to steer the talk off a "go see United 93" course. Still, there were some strong moments – particularly when Lehrer pressed producer Levin on what Lehrer feels are aspects of the film that "really ripp[ed] the government, and when Levin admitted that some of the marketing on the film (including its first trailer) may have been misguided. My notes follow; I couldn't type fast enough to quote word-for-word, but it's pretty accurate.
Brian Lehrer: When we first heard in the media about this film coming out, it generated immediate negative responses from the callers to my show. We've heard a lot about this "too soon" thing ... and of course there was that whole thing that happened with the trailer on the Upper East Side. ... But when I talked [on the radio] about the consultation that went on with family members ... I think it's very interesting, people's gut, first reaction, and then gradual reaction ... when they hear some of the facts, some of the context.
Lloyd Levin: I worked with Paul Greengrass, from the inception of his idea to make the film, all the way through the making of the film ,and the completion of the film, as well as on the marketing. Not as a financier.
Lehrer: Talk about the contact with family members ... because I gather there's going to be some skepticism about a Hollywood studio making a film like this ... when obviously a studio is not going to do it out of the goodness of their heart.