A perspective like no other on the planet. The lead structural engineer of the World Trade Center oversees the construction of the world’s tallest towers, haunted by their fall ever since. Families of 9/11 victims demand answers. This unique bond with humanity solidifies his place in American history. The life and work of Leslie E Robertson, a builder of iconic high-rises and cultural centers across the globe, such as Puerta de Europa in Madrid, Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, Shanghai World Financial Center, Lotte World Tower in Seoul and the Miho Museum Bridge in Japan. About an innovative structural system, new uses of steel and wind engineering at its inception. Visionary collaborations with world-class architects and engineering experts. A longtime pacifist and activist, Robertson is driven by his fight for human rights and a powerful union with accomplished engineer and partner SawTeen See, a woman who emboldened the man she loved, expanded his worldview and ultimately saved him. An intimate story about fulfillment, fragility and a fighting spirit. Told by the guru himself and those closest to him.


To date, the World Trade Center and 9/11 stories have been told from the perspectives of survivors, victims’ families, investigating teams, conspiracy theorists, news agencies and emergency & rescue crews. Never has the topic been approached from the perspective of its lead structural engineer, what led to the commission and what he endured. It’s a private look into the world of this creative thinker and problem-solver, an engineer who prepared for every possible scenario with confidence, meeting all challenges with precaution. His memory of skillfully solving complex structural dilemmas was astounding. Yet, the longer we interviewed Les, the more we realized that over six decades of building the unbuildable across a universe few have touched while orbiting the minds of visionary architects, all seemed less significant when juxtaposed with one of the most horrific human and structural catastrophes in the world. It was no longer the genius or the technique or the satisfaction of attaining the dream that captivated. It was the agony, the guilt, the isolation, the struggle and his unwavering bond with the one who remained by his side throughout his ordeal that drew us deeper into the soul of this human being. A man’s search for peace amidst chaos. That’s what Leaning Out is all about – a journey, a juxtaposition, a connection and a celebration of creativity.


An internationally acclaimed structural engineer for over sixty years, Dr. Leslie Earl Robertson has transformed urban and rural environments through innovative designs. Among Robertson’s most notable achievements are the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (NY), US Steel Headquarters (Pittsburgh), Bank of China Tower (Hong Kong), Shanghai World Financial Center (China), the Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), NASCAR Hall of Fame and Museum (Charlotte, NC), the Museum of Islamic Art (Qatar) and the Miho Museum and Bridge (Japan). A member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Distinguished Member of ASCE, Dr. Robertson has received numerous awards and honors including IStructE Gold Medal of the U.K., ASCE’s Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Award, ENR’S “Man of the Year.” He was the first recipient of the Henry C. Turner Prize. Robertson is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley and recipient of doctoral degrees from Lehigh University, University of Notre Dame, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Western Ontario. He retired as a partner in the firm Leslie E Robertson Associates (LERA) at the end of 1994, continuing to work on LERA projects through 2012. He now practices as See Robertson Structural Engineers, LLC and serves as a Design Director with the Robert Bird Group, a global consulting engineering firm.


Directors / Producers
Basia + Leonard Myszynski
American Institute of Steel Construction
Associate Producer
Erika Myszynski
Basia Myszynski
Lee Kanne
Director of Photography
Leonard Myszynski
Additional Cinematography
Karim Iliya / Ricardo Torres
Tomasz J Opalka
Maria Opalka
Post Production Studio
sOlar eye communications
Basia + Leonard Myszynski
Post Production Sound Studio
Sztompke Sound
Sound Re-Recording Mixer
E. Larry Oatfield
Sound Effects Editor
Nisha Anand
Additional Sound Effects
Marc Kate
Animation and Visual Effects
Sean Colby / Leonard Myszynski