Monday, December 22, 2014

"Out of the Clear Blue Sky": The story of Cantor Fitzgerald, which had occupied the top floors of the WTC North Tower on 9/11


Out of the Clear Blue Sky” (2012, directed by Danielle Gardner) is a documentary that traces the story of the bond trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which had occupied the top floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 when it was destroyed by Al Qaeda.
The company reportedly lost 658 out of 950 employees.
  
Much of the film comprises interviews with CEO Howard Lutnick, played in a few scenes by Michael Santosusso.

Lutnick actually first learned of the event by a news report as he was heading for work, but he knew instantly what it meant.
  
There was controversy later when Lutnick could not pay his employees because he didn’t have a company any more. The film covers contentions that he did not properly take care of the employee’s families.  The film covers the hate letters that Lutnick then received, to the point that his family did not feel safe at home for a while (according to the movie).
  
Lutnick has authored the book “An Unbroken Bond: The Untold Story of How the 658 Cantor FitzGerald Families Faced the Tragedy of 9/11 and Beyond”. Wikipedia has an article here .


On 9/11, I was working for ING-ReliaStar in Minneapolis.  ReliaStar had reinsured some of the top floors of one of the WTC buildings, although I don't know if it had a specific connection to Cantor FitzGerald. I would be laid off effective Dec. 31, 2001, learning of it on Dec. 13.  In a meeting I signed all the severance papers on Dec. 31, the HR consultant said that the layoffs probably had occurred much sooner than they would have because of 9/11, Ironically, on 9/11 we had gone on a "team building" cruise on the St. Croix river (along the WI border) for the day, and we did not cancel it, learning the full news only as we returned at the end of the day.  
       
The official site is here (Virgil Films, Asphalt Films and Area23a).  The film can be rented on YouTube for $3.99, or on Netflix.  

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