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Discussions with Deb: 2018 International Uranium Film Festival

December 19, 2018

December 19, 2018

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Radiation is a complicated and difficult subject for people to comprehend.  How do you make this subject accessible and appealing enough to make people want to learn about it?

Norbert Suchanek and Marcia Gomes de Oliveira found an answer in 2010 when they founded the International Uranium Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to help educate the world through film about the uses and effects of uranium and radiation.  Since then they have held festivals in Japan, Germany, India, Canada, Brazil, Jordan and the US.  Over 250 must-see documentaries and movies have been shown that are rarely shown on TV or in theatres.

This year the Festival presented films in the US on the Navajo Nation and in Arizona and New Mexico.

While the Festival features films from all over the world many of them touch on the work done by the US nuclear workers and uranium miners.

I’ve always been a bit of a documentary junkie so this year I made my way to New Mexico and was lucky enough to see eight of this year’s twenty-three films.  Four of these chronicle the work done by the uranium miners on the Navajo Nation: Dll’go to Haahaane: Four Stories about Water, Tale of a Toxic Nation, Nabikei (Footprints), and Yellow Fever: Uncovering the Navajo Uranium Legacy.  Too Precious to Mine is a film that discusses the effect of uranium mining on the water the Havasupai in the Grand Canyon rely on.

I also saw three films that addressed radiation in fictional formats.  Devil’s Work was a fictional story about the effects of depleted uranium.  A preview of Atomic Gods-Creation Myths of the Bomb was also shown.  This seems like it will be a series of black comedies about mythological gods interacting with man at the beginning of the atomic age.  Unfortunately, we were only able to see the first few minutes of this preview film before it crashed the projection equipment.  Perhaps the Atomic gods were not pleased with their plot being reveled!  Anointed is a poem video by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner that addresses the legacy of nuclear testing on the Marshall Islands.

The Safe Side of the Fence and Atomic Homefront, which I had seen previously, were also shown at this year’s Festival.  Both of these films are about the work done at Mallinckrodt in St. Louis.

People attending the screenings were lucky enough to hear from several of the filmmakers themselves.

Does this sound interesting?  You can help bring the International Uranium Film Festival back to the US next year by supporting them in their important work.