Out of the Ashes: 9/11

On September 11, 2001, three thousand lives turned into ash.

The story of seven families provides an extraordinary window into the psychology of grief and justice. Eleven days after the terrorist attack, the federal government put into place the largest public entitlement program in history. Through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, seven billion dollars was distributed to over 5,500 families.

Out of the Ashes: 9/11 tells the heart-wrenching and inspiring stories of seven 9/11 families. The film explains how the Fund was created and implemented, portraying both its strengths and its weaknesses with exclusive interviews with the Special Master of the Fund, Kenneth Feinberg, with the lawyers who helped families navigate the system, and with the 9/11 families.

The film raises difficult questions. Did the Fund undermine our legal system, as its critics claim? Or did it offer victims a way to avoid the extraordinary cost, complexity, and excruciatingly slow pace of a lawsuit?

If the Victim Compensation Fund was the right thing to do, did those affected by past tragedies like Hurricane Katrina, the Oklahoma City bombing, and other disasters also deserve compensation? If so, is this Fund, with its methods for calculating the value of a human life, an appropriate model? Did the Fund undermine our legal system? Or did the Fund offer 9/11 families justice? Did the Fund challenge our legal system, or did it offer 9/11 families justice?

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