It was a bittersweet mixture of pride and melancholy at Tuesday night’s unspooling of HBO doc “In Memoriam, New York City, 9/11/01” at Lincoln Center’s New York State Theater.
“In my 22 years at HBO nothing has ever made us as proud as this,” said HBO topper Jeff Bewkes as he presented the film, which was produced in six months and drawn from a thousand hours of footage.
When the lights came up post-screening, it was former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who offered words of wisdom to the shell-shocked audience.
“It is very, very difficult to watch this; I’ve watched it now four times and it doesn’t get any easier,” he said. “The only thing I can tell you is that if you lived through the event, this is mild in comparison and it really is important that people not forget.”
Spirits lightened somewhat at the dinner reception where “I Love New York” cookies were passed around to the nearly 1,400 in attendance. On hand were fire and police commissioners from the Guiliani and current administration Thomas Von Essen, Bernard Kerik, Nick Scopetta and Raymond Kelly, Sony chair Howard Stringer, CBS prexy Leslie Moonves, producers Brad Grey and John Liebman, HBO exec Sheila Nevins and guests Billy Crystal, Marc Anthony, Bryant Gumbel, James Gandolfini and Edie Falco.