Beginning with the World Trade Center's North Tower afire and billowing dense smoke, and ending on the vast expanse of ash-brown debris the following morning, The First 24 Hours documents "ground zero" in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Shot independently over a 24-hour period, the film is first a witness to the fall of the twin towers, as a line of fire and a buckle in the armature signal imminent collapse. It is then an intimate view of the smoldering monochromatic site and the surrounding solitary streets, the ashen outskirts of New York's financial center, desolate and strewn with debris, the epicenter, a steel moonscape of Dresdenesque remains. People on the site work monotonously, in a fervor, then dazed, trance-like. The images speak for themselves, intentionally devoid of commentary and music.