'New York Says Thank You' Documentary to Premiere at 2011 Tribeca Film Festival

Feature-length documentary film about volunteerism to be released in 2011 to commemorate the 10th year since the September 11 attacks

Mar 14, 2011, 15:00 ET from The New York Says Thank You Foundation

NEW YORK, March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tribeca Film Festival announced today that the feature-length documentary New York Says Thank You was named a "Spotlight Selection" and will have its global premiere at this year's festival.  New York Says Thank You is an epic story of healing and patriotic heroism that charts the journey of New Yorkers whose lives were touched by the events of September 11, 2001 as they travelled the country helping others rebuild after disaster. As told in the film, their stories of grief, volunteerism and healing are the foundation of what is now a national movement.

For more than five years director and producer Scott Rettberg and producer Megan Sleeper, of Individual Entertainment, followed a group of New Yorkers every September as they traveled to communities struck by disaster, natural or man-made. Their film centers on four New Yorkers—a playful firefighter from the Bronx, the stern yet sensitive Construction Superintendent of the Ground Zero cleanup effort, an Italian-American financial adviser and family man from Staten Island, and a young Irish Catholic firefighter whose first fire call was to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Another key figure in the film is Jeff Parness, the founder of The New York Says Thank You Foundation. In 2003, it was Parness' then 5-yr old son, Evan, who originally convinced his neighbors and family to drive from New York to San Diego to deliver toys and other goods to families affected by wildfires.

What started with a group of 14 volunteers who were moved to help much the way that they saw others help New Yorkers in the wake of September 11, continues to grow. Every year, The New York Says Thank You Foundation is joined by more and more volunteers from New York and throughout the country who come together in the spirit of service. In 2009 more than 1,200 people rebuilt at Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Little Sioux, Iowa where four Boy Scouts lost their lives when a tornado struck on June 11, 2008.  New York Says Thank You captures the hopeful spirit of community created when these volunteers cane together to share their grief, to help others rebuild, and to say "thank you" for the support they once received.

"Since 2003, New Yorkers have traveled the country saying 'thank you' for the outpouring of support they received in the wake of the September 11 attacks," said producer and director Scott Rettberg. "Every September, as I talk to disaster survivors and volunteers from around the country, I am so moved by their compassion and strength of spirit. I hope the inspiring stories of the New York Says Thank You volunteers continue to move people to serve others."

New York Says Thank You is a feature-length independent documentary. The original score was created by Emmy-winning composer Mike Post. The executive producers are Jeffrey Stewart and Jonathan Tisch of Walnut Hill Media.

"New York Says Thank You tells the moving story of how a small community of volunteers eventually grew into a nationwide movement of service," said Jeffrey Stewart. "Jonathan and I are proud to be involved with such an inspiring project that represents the burgeoning spirit of engaged citizenship in our country."

The film, which is timed to be released in September 2011, is already garnering support and spreading the message of The New York Says Thank You Foundation. The theatric trailer has been included in such ceremonies and sporting events as the commissioning of the USS New York (LPD-21) naval ship; the NFL Giants 2009 opening day ceremony; the Yankees 2009 pre-game show; and the Boston Pops patriotic concert Stars and Stripes on May 21 and 22, 2010.

For more information about New York Says Thank You the film and to see the theatric trailer please visit www.newyorksaysthankyoumovie.com.

About the Executive Producers: Jonathan M. Tisch and Jeffrey Stewart are long-standing colleagues who have worked side by side for many years in the hospitality and media industries, and have also brought various philanthropic and civic efforts to bear throughout New York and beyond. Together, Mr. Tisch and Mr. Stewart have always believed in the power of partnerships and the success of many, not just the individual. They have infused their corporate culture and business relationships with these principals. Visit www.walnuthillmedia.com.

About the Foundation: Founded in 2003, the mission of The New York Says Thank You Foundation is to commemorate the love and support given to New Yorkers by Americans from all across the country in the days, weeks, and months following 9/11, by sending volunteers from New York City each year on the 9/11 Anniversary in order to help rebuild communities around the United States affected by natural or man-made disasters. Now in its sixth year as a 100% volunteer-based grassroots non-profit, The New York Says Thank You Foundation has replanted 428 trees in two small Illinois towns devastated by an F3 tornado; rebuilt a 140-year-old church destroyed in a deadly Indiana tornado; and rebuilt the tornado-ravaged home of a Texas family that has cared for Disabled Veterans for three generations. Following Hurricane Katrina the foundation organized 9 rebuilding trips to the Gulf Coast and helped rebuild the home of a 6-year-old boy in Slidell, Louisiana battling Leukemia and a 38-year-old mother in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi battling terminal cancer. Visit www.newyorksaysthankyou.org.

About the Filmmakers:  Individual Entertainment is the production company of Scott Rettberg and Megan Sleeper. Mr. Rettberg has worked in both film and television, documentary and scripted, for more than 10 years. His film credits include Ving Rhames' "Ascension Day," Lionsgate Entertainment's "Bled" and other award-winning independent films.  He has worked as integral part of the production of such television shows as "The Apprentice," "Starting Over," "Myth Busters" and "Life of Ryan." Ms. Sleeper has an extensive background in film and reality television from conducting on-camera interviews to heading up departments and serving as Supervising Casting Director for numerous shows.  Her works include NBC's Emmy-award winning "Starting Over," "The Simple Life," "The Biggest Loser," eleven seasons of MTV's "The Real World" and "Road Rules,"   "The Bad Girls Club," "The Love Game," "Beauty and the Geek," and "Murder."   Visit www.individualentertainment.com.

Media Contact:

Gia Storms

212.642.7737; 917.626.6757


SOURCE The New York Says Thank You Foundation