A 9/11 hero firefighter struggling with survival guilt is blackmailed into a journey of redemption by a photographer he crossed paths with on that tragic day.
Gus Johnson (James A. Lee) is a New York City firefighter who barely escaped the World Trade Center on 9/11 and instantly became a hero. Except the only reason he survived was because he panicked and ran away, a secret he kept hidden under PTSD and survivor's guilt. Years later, Samuel Lyons (Carl Ford), a photographer who crossed paths with Gus on 9/11, confronts Gus with a photo that proves Gus was a coward. Samuel blackmails Gus into telling the truth to his family, forcing him into a journey of self-discovery and acceptance which reunites him with his son Frankie (Sebastián Zurita) who went enlisted in the military to fight for him.
"I met James A. Lee at the Susan Batson Studio in New York City. He talked to me about the character and story he was working on. The flawed hero and his journey to redemption fascinated me. We stayed up all weekend and had a complete outline of the story by Monday morning. Two weeks later we had a script. Three months later we wrapped production."
Jorge Valdés-Iga is a Mexican-American filmmaker and photographer. In 2008 Jorge was recognized by American Cinematographer magazine for his short film “Milia”, and shot the documentary “Cocaine Cowboys 2”. In 2009 Jorge was hired to direct the Japanese feature film "Hotel Chelsea", and in 2011 he was hired to co-direct the horror-comedy "You Can't Kill Stephen King". "I Was There” is Jorge’s first film as a writer / director. It is currently touring the festival circuit. Jorge also produces and directs advertising under his agency VALDESIGA. His work can be seen at www.valdesiga.com
JAMES A. LEE For several years James studied acting with Bobby Lewis, a legendary founding
member of the revolutionary 1930’s Group Theater. Bobby guided James to be in constant search for the truth
in every moment. Lewis urged Lee to stay in that truth until another moment presents itself.
Mr. Lee so treasures Bobby Lewis’ artistic insights and intuitions he feels compelled to keep Lewis’ work
alive by creating art that must serve humanity.
In 2004 James founded Wing And A Prayer Productions, an artistic think tank designed to create raw, inspiring projects that probe the human condition. The engine that drives his artistic aesthetic comes from the great filmmaker and actor John Cassavetes , “Risk everything to express all.” He collaborates with writers, directors and independent film companies who believe that the story is the only thing that truly counts, so one must risk everything in order to get it told.
A native of Rhode Island and recipient of a basketball scholarship to Mansfield State University, James was a former U.S. Marshal before realizing that acting was the trajectory where he could make his greatest contribution. He is best known for the film which he co-write and starred, I Was There (2015), Atrocitas (2014) and That’s What She Told Me (2011), as well as numerous guest starring roles on television.
CARL FORD Is a writer, filmmaker and acting teacher. after graduating Williams College, Ford was founder and ceo of Black Nexxus inc from 1996 to 2008. His latest production work "30 beats" is distributed by Lionsgate. He had the honor of working with talents as Anthony Minghella, Jill Scott, Sean Combs, Q-Tip, Laverne Cox, Adepero Oduye, Ice-T and many others.
SEBASTIAN ZURITA Moved from Miami to LA to train at the Lee Strasberg Institute. his first leading role was in Mexico´s Televisa. He starred in five different soap operas, two plays, acted and produced on five feature films and won numerous awards for his leading performances. Currently he has two films in pre-production and two plays scheduled for 2016.