On January 23, 2011, Project Rebirth released the documentary Rebirth at the Sundance Film Festival. Originally, Whitaker, who directed, had intended to focus on the site solely, with a film to be included in a future museum, but told Filmmaker magazine in 2011 that his time at Ground Zero convinced him that the stories of the people needed to be told as well to "capture the human dimension of the event." Although nine people were followed, the finished film focuses on the lives of five individuals: a teenager, Nick, whose mother died; a firefighter, Tim, who lost colleagues; a woman, Tanya, who lost her fiancé; a woman, Ling, who has undergone over 40 surgeries to help deal with the devastation of the attack; and a construction worker, Brian, who is helping to rebuild. Early reception of the documentary was positive, with Sundance audiences responding with a standing ovation and film critic Kirk Honeycutt stating that "Every choice Whitaker has made, from his decision not to show any of the footage from that terrible day to whatever methods he used to get his heroes to express themselves so candidly, pays off beautifully. The word "inspiring" gets overused but 'Rebirth' is really and truly inspiring." All profits from the documentary are to help fund the Project Rebirth Center.
The documentary received a Peabody Award in 2011.