bettina moss headshot

Bettina Moss

Echo Park -- First-time filmmaker Bettina Moss’ documentary, “Finding Daylight,” follows two families as they cope with loss from the 9/11 attacks in New York City. One of those families is her own.

Moss’ younger sister lost her husband, Jason DeFazio, in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Moss, a long-time Echo Park resident who has worked in Hollywood and academia, said that working on the film brought her closer to her family and a gave her a greater appreciation for those who have experienced a traumatic loss.

“I’ve come to understand, with a great deal of humility, what it’s like to be forced to navigate something like this… and the level of fortitude that is required of ordinary people,” said Moss, whose documentary was 20 years in the making.

One of the key aspects of the documentary is the prominence of art over live footage of the 9/11 attacks.

Moss said that her sister, Michele, “never want[ed] to see footage of those planes going through those buildings ever again.” Moss agreed, expressing frustration at how most documentaries about 9/11 retraumatize viewers with the footage.

“Finding Daylight” features artwork from 16 different artists that, “represent their experiences in a representational way or underscores the emotional state of mind of the characters.”

As much as the film is about the aftermath of 9/11, it is also a universal story of grief and family, one Moss feels defies the politicization of the event.

“Finding Daylight” “is not about 9/11 per se,” said Moss, “it’s about surviving grief and navigating [through it] to the point where you can reclaim your life.”

“Finding Daylight” will screen at the Skirball Cultural Center on Saturday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. and will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. The event is free but requires a reservation as well as proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to the event. Reserve tickets here.

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Jessica Doherty is a writer and editor. She currently is an executive editor for USC’s Annenberg Media and the editor in chief of digital arts and culture magazine Ampersand LA. For more about her, visit dohertyjessica.com

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