It is invitingly simple to give the brutal 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center the catch-all moniker of "September 11," as if by giving the disaster a date, we quite literally put it in the past. But for the thousand or so volunteers who showed up at the Jacob Javits Center immediately after the attacks, the hard reality of September 11 lasted far longer. In The Heart of Steel (produced in partnership with The September 11th Families Association), we are introduced to a group of people who thought of September 11 as an ongoing disaster rather than just a dark day. Nicknamed the Renegade Volunteers for their resilient nature and unorthodox volunteer methods, these ordinary citizens from throughout the tri-state area left their various real estate, teaching, and investment banking jobs to distribute food and supplies to the rescue workers. Initially they were given inventory jobs, but as the days passed and the Renegade Volunteers began to take shape, their involvement deepened. Within a week, they had amassed a number of army transport vehicles and a supply station the size of a Home Depot. When transport became to difficult, they decided to set up a makeshift supply house less than 2 yards away from ground zero. Despite huge shards of glass still dangling from the windows of office buildings, the motley crew dispensed water and new boots to steelworkers and firemen. Judging from their heartfelt and often tearful interviews, it is obvious that not one of them has forgotten the day of September 11, or the subsequent months that they devoted to that day.
Born in New York, Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr., turned down a place at the American Film Institute to make the documentary Idling Brando, an experience that provided invaluable training under the guidance of Los Angeles' most treasured cinema artists: Kodak, Panavision and Todd A-O. Idling Brando was internationally celebrated, screened at more than twenty-one film festivals, and enjoyed a three-year run in heavy rotation on the Independent Film Channel. The Heart of Steel screened privately at the White House and the United Nations; it will also be exhibited at the upcoming "Tribute" visitor and education center at Ground Zero in New York City. Guglielmo is currently directing a documentary about global humanitarians and a documentary about adult film stars.