Interview With Matthew Weiss, Writer of Man In Red Bandana


How did you hear about Welles’ story?  Welles’ father, Jefferson Crowther, has been my personal banker for many years.  He told me Welles’ story over lunch many years ago and I was blown away.

What made you want to make a film about Welles?  When I heard the story, I thought to myself three things in quick succession.  One, this is an amazing story.  Two, everyone should hear this story.  Three, I want to tell everyone this story.  I like to say that there are filmmakers that look for stories.  In this case, the story found a filmmaker. 

What kind of filmmaking experience do you have?  I’ve made some short corporate and political pieces.  While they were well received, this will be, by far, the lengthiest video production with which I’ve been involved.

What is your goal for the film?  I have two goals.  First, I want to make the most comprehensive, high quality piece about Welles. In that regard, we’ve traveled to many shoot locations including Atlanta, Ontario, Orlando and Massachusetts.   We’ve shot every monument, plaque and memorial that bears Welles’ name.  Second, I want this film to be seen by as many people as possible.  Welles was truly courageous and selfless.  He’s a true American hero from whom we can all be inspired to be better people.

Can you give a sneak peak? One thing that we’ll depict in the film is how Welles’ actions are connected to other information that came out of the disaster.   For instance, in the South Tower, only 18 people escaped from at or above the crash site of United Airlines Flight 175 (no one escaped at or above the crash site at the North Tower).  While this has been well documented, no one has connected Welles specifically to these individuals.  We’ll show how Welles saved many of these 18, some of which were severely injured and all of which statistically defied tremendous odds to escape. 

What is your biggest challenge in producing this film?  Getting every detail right.  We’re taking great pains to be precisely accurate.  For instance, the opening scene depicts amazing aerial footage of the World Trade Center.  Unfortunately, the footage was taken on a partly cloudy day.  In post-production, we’ll remove the clouds so that this footage depicts the same clear blue sky that existed on 9/11.

What has surprised you about making this film?   I’ve received a ton of support from so many people.  With no strings, perfect strangers have gone out of their way to contribute to the film in variety ways. 

What else do you need?  Footage of Welles!  We have very little footage of Welles.  If anyone reading this has any (or knows where it can be obtained), please let me know.  While we have enough to make a great film, we would of course like more.

Feel free to post questions below.