Sara Colangelo burst onto the scene with Little Accidents and The Kindergarten Teacher. While both films were well-received critical successes, they didn't exactly prepare her for taking on a true story... let alone a true story that's a part of the most important incident of the young century. 

What aspect of 9/11 isn't daunting to a filmmaker? 

At the same time, hard to say no... right? 

Sara still said "no." And after thinking it over and considering the angles, she changed her mind and jumped in. She tells me in this interview what changed, and how she stayed with that approach while directing a handful of overpowering screen talents. 

In this episode, we talk about...

  • The timing for the film’s release, and all the ways that this makes it more poignant.
  • The process for bringing the film to Sundance, then making a deal with Netflix, and then adding high-profile backers like the Obamas.
  • Sara’s career as a writer and director.
  • How she got involved with this project, how 9/11 impacted her, and how she brought her experiences in post-9/11 NYC to the film.
  • How Sara likes to change genres and experiment with her range, and how she is able to land a variety of films to work on.
  • Ways Sara simplifies her cerebral thought process to communicate directions to actors.
  • Choices Sara made as she was deciding how to film the movie and the types of cameras used.
  • What Sara is currently writing and other ideas she has in the pipeline.
  • The cultural shift that happened after 9/11 and how it even impacted the kinds of movies being made.
  • Sara’s advice for new filmmakers—which is to only take projects you’re excited about!

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This episode of The No Film School Podcast was produced by George Edelman.