Documentary tells story of detective's road to recovery after 9/11


Documentary tells story of detective's road to recovery after 9/11
Life of detective is featured in film directed, produced by sister-in-law

Thursday, June 21, 2007


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- As evidence builds about 9/11's deadly toll on first responders, Maria Pusateri's documentary, "Vito After," tells the moving story of one police officer's journey toward physical and emotional recovery. The film, part of this year's Staten Island Film Festival, was screened last night at the College of Staten Island's Center for the Arts

Set on Long Island and various parts of New York City, "Vito After" follows NYPD Detective Vito Friscia from April 2002 through July 2004 as he struggles with sinus infections and adjusts to life after spending months sifting through debris at Ground Zero and the former Fresh Kills landfill.

Director and producer Mrs. Pusateri -- who is Friscia's sister-in-law -- seeks to understand the stoic attitude of rescue workers, while drawing attention to the serious health conditions plaguing them.

Scenes range from police officers casually discussing the toxins they inhaled to wrenching interviews with the subject about his participation in the recovery efforts. The film ends with the results of Friscia's medical examination.

In one clip, Friscia admits that if need be he'd do it again, because his actions provided closure for the victims' families.

Mrs. Pusateri also succeeds in revealing how the power of family and youth can heal the soul. Friscia's coaching of his daughter's soccer team and pleasant family outings are veritable therapy sessions for the grieving officer.

A personal take on the distant aftermath of the 9/11 tragedies, "Vito After" provides unique and rare access to information and stories viewers might not see anywhere else. Mrs. Pusateri shines a light on families supporting recovering responders and calls on everyone to seriously consider the plight of those who rushed to help, heedless of the cost.

Caitlin Hogan is an Advance news reporter. She may be reached at