In 2011, I launched the documentary film unit at TIME called Red Border Films as the executive producer. The idea was to take stories that were worthy of TIME's red-bordered cover and as the writer was reporting out a written version of the story, we would rope in a filmmaker to also create a short documentary. The director Shaul Schwarz and I had worked together on some powerful stories in the past. Schwarz was a photojournalist turned filmmaker and he had the perfect balance of a journalism and cinematography.
With unprecedented access, we launched RISE about the ironworkers who built the new world trade center.The main character Tom Hickey, is a fourth-generation ironworker; his grandfather worked on the World Trade Center’s original transportation hub, and his father helped build the north tower. Hickey was just a few blocks away when planes slammed into the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, and he is one of the nearly 26,000 workers who have labored to build a new tower in their place.