Everyone knows about the heroism of New York City's firefighters on September 11. We read about and saw video of them going into the towers and fighting their way up the stairs when everyone else was fighting their way down. These are men who daily put themselves in harm's way for the people of New York City. Lilibet Foster's documentary goes behind the scenes at firehouses and at fires and rescues to see what makes these men tick. The film follows fire companies in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens through their day-to-day tasks, rescues, and drills. The men learn to "read" fire -- its smell, its sound, its sight. But being a firefighter has become much more complicated in recent years. New York's Bravest are now trained to respond to situations in which biohazards, radioactive materials, and other implements of terror might be lurking around every corner. It's hard to watch this documentary, which so vividly details the personalities and politics at play in a typical New York City firehouse, and not feel thankful for the job they do.
Lilibet Foster makes her feature documentary directorial debut with Brotherhood. Originally from the Virgin Islands, she has produced many award-winning works in this genre, including Speaking in Strings, nominated for an Academy Award® and winner of the Cine Golden Eagle Award. Her documentary Soul in the Hole, premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival, won the Independent Spirit Award, and was named a "Top Ten Film of the Year" by the Village Voice. Among her commercial, television, and short-film works are A Day in the Life of Africa, which documented 100 top photojournalists as they photographed all throughout that continent; Operation Fine Girl about rape used as a weapon of war in Sierra Leone; and Remembering Marshall, about the death of a college football team in a plane crash. Foster has also produced and directed television documentaries about Muhammad Ali, Joe DiMaggio, and Ronald Reagan, as well as short documentaries and public-service announcements.