Brook Peters, 14, 9/11 Documentarian Gives Voice to Children

VIDEO: 14-year-old director premieres documentary about growing up in a 9/11
WATCH In the Shadow of 9/11

Brook Peters was a 4-year-old attending his second day of kindergarten in Manhattan when two hijacked jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

His school was eight blocks away. As his mother carried him quickly to safety, he watched over her shoulder as the buildings fell.

Peters said that despite his young age, his memories were still "so vivid and so with me."

"I remember the crumbling of the towers like falling in on themselves," Peters told ABC News. "Fire and smoke was flooding through the streets. I remember the gash that was in the building. I didn't know what was happening."

The now 14-year-old's 38-minute documentary about 9/11 entitled "The Second Day" debuted at New York's Tribeca Film Festival's Family Festival last Saturday. The film recalls that day as described to him by students and teachers who attended schools surrounding the Twin Towers.

The next day, the U.S. declared that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind 9/11, had been killed by Navy SEALs.

"Nine years, seven months, 28 days," Peters said. "It's been a long wait but also interesting in the fact that we've been able to come together as a country just from this one death."

9/11 Firefighters: 'Just Guys That I Knew'

On Sept. 11, 2001, his mother, Michelle Peters, picked him up from school and brought him to the firehouse where she was a volunteer. He had been there many times. "It went from 40 or 50 hours a month to 120 hours a week," his mother said, and for Brook Peters the firefighters had become like "father figures, just guys that I knew."

As his mother helped firefighters preparing to head to the crash site, Peters took in the chaos around him.

"People were running," he said. "Electricity was in the air. Like this was it. Something that was the end all, be all. It was deathly silent," he said.

He said that some firefighters told him to deliver messages to their wives and children and families as if they knew they might not return. It was a heavy responsibility for such a young child.

"I couldn't remember who to tell afterwards," he said. "They were rushing off knowing they may not come back."

One firefighter told him: "Take care of your mother. Grow up and be a good man." Peters said that he has carried that message with him.

Peters focused his documentary on the schools that were shut down after 9/11 and the students and teacheres who were displaced. He conducted 20 interviews with students, teachers, firefighters and others over 18 hours.

"Many teachers had to make their own decisions to evacuate their schools [that day,]" he said. "Teachers were more affected than their kids. Not even one teacher or student got hurt. That's a story to behold."

After 9/11, 'Emotions Bottled Up'

He said that for a while he could not comprehend what he'd seen on Sept. 11. He said he remembers seeing what looked like a stick figure falling toward the ground, but it was actually a businessman with a briefcase.

He said he could never really talk about his feelings from that day until he started interviewing other children.

"If they're able to talk about it, then I should be able to be more vocal about my experiences that day," Peters said. "I thought I was going through it individually. I truly felt more able to talk about it openly. Before I had a lot of emotions bottled up for a long time."

His mother, Michelle, said she was extremely proud of him. "He had to grow up really quick," she said. "It was definitely a trying time for all of us. Over a year of funerals."

She said he gave a voice to so many children affected by 9/11 who had no way to share their experience and helped himself as well.

"It's really been a healthy, therapeutic experience for him," she said of Peters.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.