No commercials during History Channel’s Sept. 11 airing of Siskel/Jacobs’ archive-driven 9/11 doc

Siskel/Jacobs’ “real time” recreation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center is so groundbreaking that the History Channel will air it without commercial interruption on Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. Chicago time.

“I don’t think anyone has done anything like this before,” said Greg Jacobs of their primary-source historical documentary, “102 Minutes that Changed America.”

“The idea was to be able to show the documentary to future generations and say ?this is how it felt to be there on that morning,'” he added.

Producing partners Jacobs and Siskel, documentary specialists formerly with Towers and Kurtis Productions, respectively, spent two years working on “102 Minutes.”

They gathered more than 500 hours of footage through a video request on Youtube, hung flyers and sent Emails to nearby residents, and put calls out to New York producers and videographers.

The momentous events of that day, combined with the growing abundance of video equipment, created a potent archive from which producer Nicole Rittenmeyer and editor Seth Skundrick – both former Towers staffers – were able to interweave the multiple strands of professional and amateur footage.

“It was all driven by the archive, there’s no context in this, there’s no after-the-fact commentary or voiceover. Everything you see and hear in the film was recorded between 8:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. on the morning of 9/11,” Jacobs remarked.

“For many, recording the events on camera was a way to exert some control over that morning. They also felt a certain obligation to history, a certain urge to capture,” said Jacobs, who originated the concept after learning of a sound archive that was due to be donated to a museum.

“I thought that if you were able to put those primary sources together it would be pretty powerful. The History Channel got the concept immediately,” he added.