Indie distributor Abramorama has acquired global distribution rights to “The Outsider,” a documentary that reveals the challenges to curate and construct the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan.
The film’s directors Pamela Yoder and Steven Rosenbaum, the team behind “7 Days In September” and “Overcome,” have spent 20 years archiving and documenting the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and are considered the world’s leading historians on the tragedy.
Following a live streaming premiere on Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. ET, which includes a special panel, “The Outsider” will launch nationwide on Aug. 20 through Abramorama’s Watch Now @ Home Cinema Release. In early September, the film will play in select theaters and on video-on-demand.
The film includes never-before-seen footage collected over eight years and follow’s the journey of the museum’s creative director Michael Shulan from the day of 9/11 to the building’s opening in 2014. During that time, the filmmakers were given unlimited access to the site, closed meetings and senior staff.
Per its logline, “The team began with a shared vision to create a powerful destination that would invite Americans to think deeply about 9/11, its history, and the future of America in the post 9/11 world. But as pressure mounted, Shulan’s museum of question faced growing opposition from Alice Greenwald, the museum’s director. The documentary team watched as the conflict grew, and as complex questions that arose out of 9/11 were left unasked.”
“The Outsider” features interviews with the team that brought the museum to life, including its director Alice Greenwald, VP of design and construction Lou Mendes, the lead exhibit designer Tom Hennes, chief curator Jan Ramirez, VP of operations Amy Weiser and The Washington Post’s architecture critic Philip Kenniccot.
“‘The Outsider’ will give viewers an insider’s view of how 9/11 history is being written,” Rosenbaum and Yoder said in a statement. “As Michael Shulan had created the world’s largest crowd-sourced photo exhibit called ‘Here Is New York’ in the days after 9/11. His vision was to build a museum that was ‘democratic’ in its voice and curation. He wanted to ask hard questions, and instead, it ended up providing simple answers. He wanted a museum of question marks, and he got a museum driven by periods.”
In a press release, the company called “The Outsider” the “inside story of a museum you’ve never seen, and maybe haven’t even heard of. But the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum is the home of America’s painful history, and what’s going to be remembered and what is going to be at the 16 acre site where the towers once stood. The fact that free speech is forbidden at the site creates deep rooted conflict at a museum dedicated to a critical piece of American history.”
“It has been 20 years since 9/11, and Americans are increasingly thinking back, and want to understand the event that led up to the attack, and how we responded as a nation,” Abramorama’s CEO Richard Abramowitz and COO Karol Martesko-Fenster said in a statement. “We think ‘The Outsider’s’ unparalleled access will take viewers inside the process of writing history. It will instantly become an essential document in helping to understand the historical, and historic, impact of that day.”