Brooklyn filmmaker chronicles September 11 Memorial’s greener side

By Ivan Pereira AM NY

Greenpoint filmmaker Scott Elliot wants to shed some light on the greener side of the National September 11th Memorial with the film he’s been working on for the last five years.

During that period Elliot chronicled and interviewed the architectural landscapers and engineers who designed the tree landscape for the memorial for his documentary “The Trees.”

The 39-year-old filmmaker said the work by these crews is an important testament to Ground Zero’s rebuilding that deserved recognition by future generations.

“People can see the trees and it’s a great park and beautiful but I feel that people don’t necessarily know about the stories surrounding it,” he said.

Elliot, who was in Chelsea during 9/11 attacks, became aware of the story of the trees when he met one of the landscape architects who explained the project. As part of the memorial’s design, 400 oak trees from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and other locations affected by the attacks were grown in a New Jersey [sic] and then replanted at Ground Zero.

The highlight is the Ground Zero “survivor tree,” which was found in the rubble, preserved and replanted at the site at 2010.

“It is quite remarkable and the landscape architects who took care of it get really emotional when they think about it,” Elliot said.

Elliot is wrapping up filming, which he financed on his own, and plans to start post production soon. He launched a Kickstarter campaign that aims to raise at least $50,000 by July 13 to pay for those post-production costs including scoring and a special animated sequence that artistically shows the creation of the tree plaza.

“I think it’s a great story and I want it to look good and sound good,” he said.

The campaign has raised $25,000 as of Tuesday and Elliot said he’s amazed with the outpouring of support. He plans to release the movie by early 2015 at the latest and hopes it will show a new side of the memorial.

“It is a compelling project,” he said. “I’ve been following these people for five years now, and you get a good sense of what’s driving them.

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