On the morning of September 11, 2001, Paul McCartney was in New York City on an airport runway waiting to fly to Britain. As he absorbed the news of the unfolding tragedy, he wondered, “What can I do?” The answer, of course, lay in music.
McCartney reached out to master documentarian and long-time friend Albert Maysles, inviting Maysles to document his personal experiences on 16mm black and white film, a format seldom used in the digital age but of proven endurance and artistic quality. Over several weeks in October 2001, Maysles’ camera followed McCartney as he prepared for The Concert for New York City, a benefit he helped organize to uplift New York City during this period of uncertainty and vulnerability. The footage went unseen for years, requiring the passage of time to be put in perspective. Now, ten years later, Maysles, his directing partner Bradley Kaplan and editor Ian Markiewicz have emerged with an intimate work that explores the role of art and artists in a time of crisis.