By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Uranium Film Festival returns to Rio de Janeiro for its fifth edition on Thursday, July 16th and Friday, July 17th. Taking place again in the Cinemateque of the Modern Art Museum (MAM Rio), in Parque do Flamengo, the festival will include screenings of nineteen full-length, short, and animated films about uranium mining, nuclear power, nuclear weapons and the long-term health effects of radiation exposure and contamination.
The festival’s official website states; “Films, documentaries, movies, and animations are the best tool to transport information about nuclear energy and radioactivity, an invisible danger that has no taste, no smell, no colour. And a festival is the best way to bring these films to the people!”
Founded in Rio de Janeiro in 2010, the first edition of the Uranium Film Festival was held in the city in 2011. This year the festival begins on the 70th anniversary of the first detonation of a nuclear weapon, an event that took place in Los Alamos, New Mexico on July 16, 1945.
“The Uranium Film Festival is a project against forgetting and ignoring,” the website’s statement adds.”The horror of atomic bombs and uranium weapons, and nuclear accidents like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Goiânia or now Fukushima should never be forgotten – nor repeated. ”
“We founded [the festival] in 2010, about a year before Fukushima,” Norbert G. Suchanek, General Director of the Uranium Film Festival told The Rio Times before the 4th edition of the festival last year. “I knew that there were many important films about nuclear power and uranium but that nobody could see them. They were not shown on television or screened in big festivals. So we had to create our own festival; a festival for nuclear and atomic filmmakers.”
Featured as part of the festival this year, director Adam Jonas Horowitz’s “Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secrets Project 4.1,” was scheduled to air on the American television station PBS three times but canceled each time, according to festival organizers.
The documentary explores, through both archival footage and modern-day interviews and footage, the nuclear tests conducted by the United States in the Marshall Islands during the 1950’s and the fallout from the testing to islands’ people, animals, and environment. The film was awarded the Uranium Film Festival’s Yellow Oscar for best film in 2013.
“Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secrets Project 4.1” will screen on Thursday, July 16th as part of the Atomic Bomb Film Session. Beginning at 3PM, the session will also include the film, “Hiroshima: A Mother’s Prayer,” a thirty-minute film by director Motoo Ogasawara about the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima as seen from a mother’s perspective.
Beginning at 5PM, the Atomic Art and Animated Film Session will screen several short films, a music video and animated shorts including “11:02 de 1945 Retratos de Nagasaki”, a Brazilian documentary by director Roberto Fernández about the atomic bombing of the city of Nagasaki; “After the Day After,” and a 2011 short film by American director Nathan Meltz; “H.”
Also screening will be a short film by Mexican director Adrian Regnier Chavez; “In a Single Minute,” a music video by American director Michael Elam; “Loving the Bomb,” an animated short by Canadian director Alison Davis; “Amalia,” an animated short by American director David Harrison; and “Beloved Sun,” a German animated short produced by Franka Sachse and Uli Seis.
“The work on our animated short film started with the romantic idea of a firefly that falls in love with the sun,” Sachse and Seis wrote explaining “Beloved Sun” in their director’s statement. “Even though the sun seems unreachable, the firefly is still happy – until a combat fought by humans makes the sun disappear. Trying to find his love the firefly destroys not only the world but the idea of the ‘happy ending’ itself. ‘The boy got the girl and everybody’s dead.’ “Liebe Sonne” (engl. “Beloved Sun”) was our graduation film.”
Also from Germany, the short animated film “Darkroom,” by director Anna Luisa Schmid will screen as part of the Atomic Art and Animated Film Session, as will “Small Object,” a sixteen-minute film by Brazilian director Daniel Abib.
To close out the first day of the festival, the Atomic Bombs Lost Film Session will screen the 2007 film “Broken Arrow. Nuclear Accident in Palomares (Operación Flecha Rota. Accidente Nuclear en Palomares),” a documentary by Spanish director Jose Herrera Plaza about four hydrogen bombs, also known as H-bombs, that fell to earth following an airplane collision over Palomares, Almería, Spain in 1966.
During the second day of the festival on Friday, July 17th, the Film Session about Radioactivity will include the films “The Radioactive Thing (La Cosa Radiactiva),” a documentary by Spanish directors Sergio Galán and Alejandro Perez and “Scan of Death,” a 2013 documentary by Brazilian director Laércio Tomaz about ionizing radiation in body scanners used on prisoners in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo.
Documentaries, “The Plan”, “Alone in The Zone”, and “Ordinary Lives” will show as part of the Fukushima Film Session beginning at 5PM and the 2013 Ukrainian film “Inseparable (Motylki),” a fictional retelling of the 1986 Chernobyl core meltdown, will close out the festival as part of the Film Session Chernobyl, also beginning at 5PM.
For more information, a complete listing of the films and schedule of the screening times, see the Uranium Film Festival 2015 website.
What: Uranium Film Festival Fifth Edition
See the festival’s trailer, here.
When: July 16th and July 17th
Where: Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM) Av. Infante Dom Henrique 85, Parque do Flamengo
Entrance: See venue for more information.