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American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing. XXX in American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing. Cr. Netflix © 2023

The terrorist-attack on the Boston Marathon, gave severe repercussion for United States as a country. Netflix mini-series on the event details the story in a new way.

The Boston Marathon bombing was a terrorist attack that occurred on April 15, 2013, when two bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring hundreds more. The bombs were made from pressure cookers filled with shrapnel, nails, and ball bearings, and were placed in backpacks left on the ground.

The attack was carried out by two brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who had emigrated to the United States from the Russian republic of Chechnya. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police a few days after the attack, while Dzhokhar was captured and later sentenced to death.

The bombing was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the United States since the September 11, 2001 attacks, and it led to a massive manhunt and a city-wide lockdown as law enforcement officials searched for the suspects. The attack also sparked a debate about the use of surveillance and other law enforcement measures in the fight against terrorism. The attack also had a profound impact on the city of Boston and the wider United States. The city held a memorial service for the victims and their families, and the Boston Strong movement emerged as a symbol of resilience and unity in the face of tragedy. The bombing also led to increased security measures at public events and gatherings across the country.

In addition, the Boston Marathon bombing had political and social implications. The attack prompted debates about immigration, national security, and civil liberties. The use of surveillance by law enforcement agencies also came under scrutiny, with some arguing that it was an invasion of privacy while others defended its use in preventing further terrorist attacks. The attack also had a significant emotional impact on the victims and their families, as well as the broader community of Boston. The One Fund, a charity established to support the victims of the attack, raised over $80 million in donations from around the world.

The trial and sentencing of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also had a significant impact, with many questioning whether the death penalty was an appropriate punishment. Tsarnaev was ultimately sentenced to death, but the sentencing was later overturned on appeal, and he is currently awaiting a new sentencing hearing.

The series of Netflix upcoming series with 3 episodes times 50 minutes each, premiering April 12th, a couple of days before the ten-year anniversairy. Behind the docuseries is Tiller Russel, most known for Night Stalker, Tina Gazzerro Executive producer and director Floyd Russ who made Zion, Malice at the Palace.

This is a extract from a Q&A with the filmmakers and Netflix.

Netflix: The Boston Marathon bombing is one of those tragedies where most everyone can
remember where they were when it happened. How did your individual experiences of this
event inform the process of creating this series?

Tina Gazzerro Clapp, Executive Producer: I’m a New England girl, born in Boston, raised in
Providence, back to Boston for college. Definitely had a real connection to Patriots Day and
the marathon. It was just such a special day in Boston, where the whole city celebrated
something together, you know? It also marked the start of spring in Boston, where winters
suck. It’s the beginning of, like, “Oh, it’s gonna be okay. It’s all gonna get better from here.”

Floyd Russ, Director: I was 28, and I remember vividly watching the bombing happen. It was
shocking. I was living in New York, and it felt like it was right next door. It just stopped
everything you were doing, and in that sense it was very much like 9/11. You didn’t know what
the hell was going on. And then the story got crazier and crazier over the next five days.

Tiller Russell, Executive Producer: There are these iconic moments of American history
where you recognize the world has changed in an instant. As filmmakers and storytellers,
when these events happen, it takes a minute to be able to culturally process them. With the
ten year anniversary looming, it felt like the time to revisit it by exploring the lived experience
of the people who were inside the event.

Russ: That’s exactly what I wanted to know back then: What were the people who were
directly impacted going through? We wanted to tell this story in a way that feels as though
you’re living through it as it’s happening, so it’s very immersive to the audience. I don’t think I
ever knew the whole story until now.

Russell: We’re a very director-driven filmmaking shop. The goal is to find somebody who can
make this a white-knuckle thriller, but who also has a nuanced view of the human perspective.
There was something very appealing about Floyd coming in and being able to tell this iconic
story, but to tell it from that lived-in perspective. That was the guiding light for all of us.

Russ: Law and crime is not something I’ve done before. I’ve always focused on things that are
very intimate character biographies. Even when we did MALICE AT THE PALACE, it was
about what the players went through. After the bombing, Bostonians were scared to go to the
happiest event of the year in their town. That emotional angle was very interesting to me.

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American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing. XXX in American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing. Cr. Netflix © 2023

Netflix: The event and subsequent manhunt had a massive logistical footprint, as well as
thousands of hours of archival materials from security cameras, cell phones, police radios,
and the like. How did you find your way into the story?

Russell: We recognized with this story in particular that what happens in these moments is
there’s this elaborate law enforcement apparatus which is instantaneously activated, from the
local beat cops in Watertown all the way up to the highest levels of the FBI and the White
House. There’s also the intense apparatus of first responders who are out there on the front
lines where it’s literally life or death. Then there’s the average citizens, civilians, survivors – all
the people who are going through it. We wanted to be able to toggle between those
perspectives. So we needed to connect with the group of people who lived it, and establish a
relationship with them so that they understood we wanted to tell their story in a thoughtful,
loving, and nuanced way.

Russ: In terms of the archival material, the Department of Justice file from the trial was the
Holy Grail. This was one of the most live-covered manhunts in history. We could use that live
footage as our main visual element, and create a 101-hour timeline. But then there are
aspects of the manhunt that can only come from first-person accounts. The shootout in
Watertown, for example – we have the police radio and a few photographs, but it was
happening in a neighborhood in the middle of the night, and there was no camera around
when those guns went off. We wanted that moment to reverberate, so we decided to recreate
it in Episode 2 in order to give viewers a sense of what it felt like.

Netflix: It seems as though you made a conscious choice not to focus on the
well-documented moment of the bombing itself or the survivors who became household
names in the wake of the tragedy, but rather on expanding into stories most of us hadn’t
heard before.

Russ: That’s probably the trickiest thing we had to figure out while we were editing. It’s not
something you could do on paper, because you have to see what people are gonna say when
they’re in the chair. We researched a lot, and we talked to a lot of survivors. It was about going
deeper, to get the perspectives that you haven’t seen.

Russell: In stories like this one, you are dealing with massive collective and personal trauma.
We were acutely aware of that going in. So it has to be done in an incredibly respectful way,
where you are offering the opportunity, but you’re never pushing anybody to a place that they
don’t want to be. It ends up becoming this very self-selecting crowd of people that are each
bringing a piece of the collective memory to the table.

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Russ: When we’re talking about crime, of course, the perspective of the police is everything.
There’s the plot of what happened here – the full force of the American government was trying
to find the bombers – but that doesn’t even scratch the tip of the iceberg. We needed to go
beyond that, to ask why this happened, so that people can sleep at night.

American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing. XXX in American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing. Cr. Netflix © 2023

Netflix: One of the groups forced to reckon with this specific tragedy was the Muslim
community of Boston. Why was it important to ask people who knew the bombers to
participate in this series, and how did you ensure you were providing a safe space for them
to share their experience?

Russ: While the series is called AMERICAN MANHUNT and it’s a show about law
enforcement, we needed to bring to life that other point of view. There are people who knew
the terrorists, who trusted them. What was this event like for them? That’s part of the
collective tissue of the story. I don’t think it’s ever been covered in this holistic way.
Clapp: As a country, we were just starting to heal post-9/11, just starting to become a little bit
more open and a little less divided. When this event happened, all the Islamophobia came
right back. So it was a series of careful conversations. It was a complicated process. Several
people said no.

Russell: Netflix has an amazing fellowship program of young filmmakers, and we were gifted
this incredible young producer, Omar Al Dakheel, who happens to be Muslim. He’s a
wonderfully smart guy, and he explained that there are all these gradations of the Muslim
experience in America. If you’re not inside it, you don’t know it. There are a million different
colors of the rainbow, from the most radicalized to the most secularized, and understanding
how this event rippled through all those different layers of the Muslim community requires its
own magnifying glass. From the very first moment of him articulating the nuance of that, he
was an indispensable voice to have from the ground up in developing the show.

Floyd Russ focuses on the emotional truth behind his subjects and environments in a
cinematic, soulful way.

Acclaimed writer, director, and producer Tiller Russell creates character-driven films that defy
genre and explore the human condition in riveting, complex, and unexpected stories.

American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing is set to premiere April 12 2023 on Netflix, worldwide.

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