NY Times Reporter Interviewed For Film

ny-times-welles

A big thanks to NY Times journalist Eric Lipton who sat for an interview today for “Man In Red Bandana”. Eric was one of five journalists who wrote the May 26, 2002 article entitled “Fighting to Live as the Towers Died”. Eric was responsible for collecting data and conducting interviews regarding the 78th Floor of the South Tower. His research allowed Alison Crowther to determine what her son did during the last hour of his life, his finest hour.

Lyle Lovett Records Song For “Man In Red Bandana”

Super talented Lyle Lovett recorded a song about Welles entitled “One Red Bandana” and graciously granted us permission to use it in our film. We couldn’t have done this without the help of Kevin McKiernan and his team at Creative License.

This original song was written by Nashville recording artist Stive Linek following 9/11. Stive wrote and sent it to the Crowthers in an effort to ease the pain of their loss. Lyle and his band have put together a terrific arrangement of this special song and we cannot say enough nice things about him.

THANKS SO MUCH LYLE and KEVIN!!!

Below are the lyrics to “One Red Banana”.

Lyrics
One red bandana and an eight year old smile
He got them from his daddy and he kept them all his life
Adventurous and eager a top athlete in high school
Nineteen was his number a real player win or lose
Like a fearless leader he fought for his team to win
Got knocked down but he got right back up again

He followed the lead of his mom and dad
Don’t ever surrender give all that you have
His heart believed in what he saw in their eyes
Have no fear and follow me

On a New York Tuesday morning under clear September skies
The World Trade Towers were burning
Their were victims trapped inside
At the scene was the young man and he wore upon his face
That one red bandana to defy the smoking blaze
Up Fifteen flights he went with the danger closing in
Brought down the helpless and went right back up again

Chorus

With one red bandana and that eight year old smile
The many lives he saved when he walked his last mile

He followed the lead of the great men before him
Caught in the gust of their second wind
His heart conceived when he heard an angel reply
Have no fear and follow me.

President Obama Features Welles During 9/11 Museum Opening

As reported in today’s NY Times, in his dedication remarks, President Barack Obama “singled out the heroism of a young man with a red bandanna who helped save people in the south tower before it collapsed. His identity was long unknown until months later when his mother read an article about the mysterious savior with the red bandanna and recognized him. He was Welles Crowther”

“He had a big laugh and a joy of life and dreams of seeing the world,” Mr. Obama said. “He worked in finance, but he had also been a volunteer firefighter. And after the planes hit, he put on that bandanna and spent his final moments saving others.”.

After his speech, Welles’ mom Alison and Ling Young (a survivor who identified Welles as her savior) walked onto the stage and spoke.


Interview With Matthew Weiss, Writer of Man In Red Bandana

matthew-weiss

How did you hear about Welles’ story?  Welles’ father, Jefferson Crowther, has been my personal banker for many years.  He told me Welles’ story over lunch many years ago and I was blown away.

What made you want to make a film about Welles?  When I heard the story, I thought to myself three things in quick succession.  One, this is an amazing story.  Two, everyone should hear this story.  Three, I want to tell everyone this story.  I like to say that there are filmmakers that look for stories.  In this case, the story found a filmmaker. 

What kind of filmmaking experience do you have?  I’ve made some short corporate and political pieces.  While they were well received, this will be, by far, the lengthiest video production with which I’ve been involved.

What is your goal for the film?  I have two goals.  First, I want to make the most comprehensive, high quality piece about Welles. In that regard, we’ve traveled to many shoot locations including Atlanta, Ontario, Orlando and Massachusetts.   We’ve shot every monument, plaque and memorial that bears Welles’ name.  Second, I want this film to be seen by as many people as possible.  Welles was truly courageous and selfless.  He’s a true American hero from whom we can all be inspired to be better people.

Can you give a sneak peak? One thing that we’ll depict in the film is how Welles’ actions are connected to other information that came out of the disaster.   For instance, in the South Tower, only 18 people escaped from at or above the crash site of United Airlines Flight 175 (no one escaped at or above the crash site at the North Tower).  While this has been well documented, no one has connected Welles specifically to these individuals.  We’ll show how Welles saved many of these 18, some of which were severely injured and all of which statistically defied tremendous odds to escape. 

What is your biggest challenge in producing this film?  Getting every detail right.  We’re taking great pains to be precisely accurate.  For instance, the opening scene depicts amazing aerial footage of the World Trade Center.  Unfortunately, the footage was taken on a partly cloudy day.  In post-production, we’ll remove the clouds so that this footage depicts the same clear blue sky that existed on 9/11.

What has surprised you about making this film?   I’ve received a ton of support from so many people.  With no strings, perfect strangers have gone out of their way to contribute to the film in variety ways. 

What else do you need?  Footage of Welles!  We have very little footage of Welles.  If anyone reading this has any (or knows where it can be obtained), please let me know.  While we have enough to make a great film, we would of course like more.

Feel free to post questions below.

UCF Inspired By Welles

ucf-red-bandana

Did you know that over 7,000 people RSVP’d for a “red bandana” event started by two University of Central Florida students on Facebook? 1,000s of fans sporting red bandanas showed up at the UCF vs. BC football game in Orlando. The UCF mascot was event re-designed for the occasion. Paige and Honor (Welles’ sisters) flew down and Welles was honored at halftime. We were there and we’ll be including some great clips from this game in the film.