The ordinary life of a Boston bred baggage handler is turned upside down when he steals a suitcase that contains terrorist plans. Inspired by true events on 9/II.
Stuck in the minutia of life Joe Franek, a Boston-bred baggage handler, fears he'll never amount to anything. Being a pilot is his goal, but the dream seems far off as financial pressures mount. When tasked with transferring an incoming bag, Franek cracks and steals from the case owned by Mohammad Atta and destined for American Airlines Flight 11 on September 11th, 2001. The suitcase misses Flight 11, forcing Franek to re-tag it for later departure. Franek's world is turned upside down when Flight 11 crashes into the World Trade Center. All air traffic is grounded, and the chaotic airport is locked down. Tortured by his careless actions, Franek becomes obsessed with tracking down the bag he delayed. Risking his job and sacrificing his security, Franek becomes a suspect, but his act of courage turns him into an unlikely hero and gives him the legacy for which he longed.
On September 11 I slumped over my computer, heart heavy, Boston Marathon bombing on my mind. My mother had been at the finish line and her birthday falls on 9/II. As I mulled over how America has become inundated with attacks — marathon, subway, school, club; the list is long — I was overwhelmed by the desire to fix it. But changing the world from my boxy one bedroom in Los Feliz seemed hopeless. A small ticker flashed across my LCD screen about heroes at Logan Airport who wore scars of courage from 9/11. For them, impact required sacrifice. They could not choose a safe life, but they shaped the world that followed with small actions, character and unlikely heroism. That was my answer too — I could change the world with what I had in front of me. So instead of grappling with cosmic, chaotic problems I told a story whose heart beat focused on one incident with a down on his luck baggage handler, who like me wanted to matter, and whose act of courage ultimately gave him the legacy for which he longed. The hope of our team is that the telling of Joe Franek’s story will inspire audience members to find courage within the daily minutia of their lives.
The events of the film are inspired by the FBI investigation of Muhammed Atta's suitcases left at Logan International Airport. The copy of the original memorandum is included in our press kit. The original letter discovered in Muhammed Atta’s suitcase is displayed at 9/11 Memorial & Museum in NYC. The props team created an exact replica, by hand, for the film.
The Suitcase is the first project out of USC to be fully sponsored by major studios: Disney, Universal, Sony, and Amazon under the banner of The USC Studio Innovation Grant. In addition to the primary sponsors, the production has partnered with several key entertainment technology companies including Google, Jaunt, IM360, Fotokem, Technicolor, Avid and Colorfront to test a cutting edge cloud based workflow that will create new standards for the industry. The USC Studio Innovation Grant was created for Abi Damaris Corbin and beginning 2017 is a recurring grant for USC School of Cinematic Arts graduates.