The courageous march, led by activist John Feal and helped by Jon Stewart, to ensure 9/11 first responders were able to pay for healthcare, is being explored in a new documentary that has just scored a significant international sales deal.
Paradox Pictures is producing the 90-minute doc No Responders Left Behind, which will explore the long and arduous process of getting the U.S. government to ensure health and compensation for thousands of ailing first responders who are dying from toxins released at Ground Zero.
The story is led by John Feal, who had part of his foot amputated from a falling steel beam at Ground Zero following the September 11 attacks, working closely with former The Daily Show host Stewart. It also features the story of FDNY hero Ray Pfeifer, who died in 2017 of 9/11-related cancer.
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Blue Ant International has now taken the global rights to the film.
It comes a year after an impassioned speech by the comedian in front of the House Judiciary Committee saw a bill passed that would permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
The doc was shot over five years and follows the unwavering fight to get healthcare and benefits for the thousands of responders who acquired life-threatening and financially devastating illnesses from 9/11.
No Responders Left Behind is produced by Paradox Pictures, directed by Rob Lindsay and produced by Kelly Zemnickis.
Jon Stewart told Deadline, “I have the greatest admiration for John Feal. He made all of this his life’s work. If he hadn’t done what he did for over 18 years, and gone to Washington, DC and knocked down so many doors to those who wouldn’t listen, it would not have gotten done. And then you have guys like Ray Pfeiffer, who had cancer and spent his final days in a wheelchair going door to door in Congress just so he could help out his brothers and sisters. It’s all just so admirable. John Feal’s passion forced the government to do the right thing. It should never have been this hard, but he refused to give up and he carried them through.”
“For many, the last 18.5 years has been about passing legislation and fighting for justice for those affected by the aftermath of 9/11. I cannot say the same for me. It has never been about passing legislation, donating money or the accolades. It has always been about the journey from where we started to not knowing when it will end. It has been about the friendships and all the people I love and now call my family,” said John Feal. “To allow myself to be exposed and vulnerable is a testament to Rob Lindsay, Kelly Zemnickis and everyone behind the documentary No Responders Left Behind who captured this emotional journey in such a powerful and meaningful manner.”
“John Feal and all the first responders have done so much for me, for the community, for the city, for the country. To be able to repay some of that debt that I feel I owe them personally, that we all owe them, is the best feeling,” added Stewart. “Being a small part of this journey is the one thing I’m most proud of. I will follow John anywhere he wants to lead me next. I’m thrilled John Feal’s story is being told in the documentary, No Responders Left Behind.”
“Next year will mark the 20th anniversary when the entire world watched the tragedy of 9/11 unfold and saw those first responders head courageously toward their rescue mission,” said Ludo Dufour, SVP, International Co-Productions and Sales, Blue Ant International. “This is an incredibly moving story that shines a light on the fight for health care and also provides an inspirational and encouraging look at what a small, but mighty group of passionate activists can achieve against all odds.”