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Three Days in September

World Premiere

USA, Russia | 81 MINUTES | English |


Chechnya, having lost close to 25 percent of its population at the hands of the Russian government over the past 12 years, is familiar with the nefarious effects of genocide. Yet neither compassion nor common sense could stop a Chechen warlord and a group of armed terrorists from holding an entire school in the Russian town of Beslan hostage. In every Russian Federation school, citizens celebrate a holiday known as the Day of Knowledge, which falls on the first day of school. On September 1, 2004, at School Number One in Beslan, this tradition was deliberately exploited by heavily armed terrorists as an opportunity to seize the school and take 1,200 hostages. The world watched in disbelief as the horror of this act unfolded over the course of the next three days. The end result left hundreds of children and adults wounded or killed. In an incredibly ironic twist, a parent's own video camera was used by the Chechen terrorists to document the massacre. During the course of the siege, what is revealed on this unspeakable footage is the utter panic and desperation of the hostages. They are forced to endure bombs being wired over their heads, random shootings, and skyrocketing temperatures in a school gymnasium without any water. As days pass and the horror intensifies, anguished friends and family members hold vigil in the streets. The camera shows how the people's initial shock slowly turns to incoherent rage at the government's inability to rescue their loved ones. Narrated by Julia Roberts, Three Days In September combines guerilla footage and interviews with family members, soldiers, local politicians, school officials, and survivors to give viewers a riveting look into the crisis. This is a film that, once seen, is not easily forgotten.


Directed by Joe Halderman

As the writer, producer and director of Three Days in September, Joe Halderman has drawn on the skills gained in his career in journalism. For more than 25 years, Halderman has been shooting, writing and producing news pieces. His work has taken him around the world, reporting on events from 75 different countries. Based in London for 12 years, he has also spent many months in the Soviet Union, and later Russia. Halderman has witnessed war firsthand, covering conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia and Lebanon. Halderman has been acknowledged for his work with seven Emmy awards and one Columbia Dupont award. He has two children and lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.