„What an event! Such a deep, meaningful, fulfilling experience at the International Uranium Film Festival!“ Libbe HaLevy
Three filmmakers received the International Uranium Film Festival Award „Yellow Einstein“ in Window Rock, Navajo Nation Museum.
„International Uranium Film Festival - Window Rock: I can't even begin to describe how wonderful this experience is. The people, the information coming from the films, the heart, the tears, the ferocious will and kindness of the Navajo Nation's people, the conversations: And all this environment created by the astonishing films, each one a labor of love, conviction, heart, and caring. Power, heart, dignity, soul, and profound information“, says Nuclear Hotseat producer Libbe HaLevy from Los Angeles about the Uranium Film Festival in the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock.
„Thanks Libbe, I could not describe it better," comments the director of the Uranium Film Festival, Norbert G. Suchanek. „As I said it already at the first International Uranium Film Festival held May 2011 in Rio de Janeiro: our in the world unique film fest is not just about showing nuclear movies, it's also about networking and making friends."
Navajo Nation President at the Uranium Film Festival in Window Rock
From November 29th to December 1st the International Uranium Film Festival screened more than 20 films with the presence of filmmakers from Denmark, India and USA in the Navajo Nation Museum. A strong and sincere speech from new elected President of the Navajo Nation Jonathan Nez marked the opening of the festival.
Navajo Nation Vice President and President-elect Jonathan Nez said the festival provides the opportunity to show films that feature the Native American perspective and demonstrate a universal concern about uranium mining on health and the environment. "It's not a Navajo issue. It's clear across the country, all around the world," Nez said. He commended the work of the film festival founders, Norbert Suchanek and Márcia Gomes de Oliveira, for providing an outlet for people to understand the circumstances of uranium on communities.
With more than 500 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation, the need continues to address clean-up activities and to hold the federal government and companies accountable for mining. Jonathan Nez said. „How do we come together and express our discontent? That's what we are here to do through this film festival.“
Festival co-organizer Anna Rondon, the executive director for New Mexico Social Justice and the Equity Institute said at the opening: „The Uranium Film Festival is a festival of films. Films of education. We are not celebrating uranium. Let me make that clear, it's a festival of how we can fight and survive beyond the nuclear deprivation of our homelands.“
At the opening the festival showed 5 documentaries including "Half Life: The Story of America's Last Uranium Mill“. A film by Justin Clifton that focuses on the White Mesa uranium mill, located 2 miles north of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's White Mesa community in Utah. Thelma Whiskers was one of three tribal members who spoke about the mill site after the screening. Whiskers said she has expressed her opposition to the site for several years because of its risk to public health and the land.
She added the documentaries she watched on Thursday opened her eyes to uranium's effect on tribes. "No matter what tribe we are, we are all brothers and sisters," Whiskers said.
On the second day, it was the turn of Navajo singer Radmilla Cody to shine and leave her message. In July 1979, more than 1,000 tons of solid radioactive mill waste and 93 million gallons of acidic, radioactive tailings solution flowed into the Puerco River from the United Nuclear Corporation in Church Rock, New Mexico. Radmilla Cody cited this tragic point in Navajo history. Radmilla Cody, Miss Navajo Nation 1997-98, had just performed a song for the crowd at the Navajo Nation Museum, who were attending the International Uranium Film Festival, when she began talking about the perils and legacy of uranium mines and radioactive waste on the Navajo Nation.
“The toxic sludge poured into the Rio Puerco system,” said Radmilla. “News reports at the time stated ‘was sparsely populated and the spill posed no threats to public health.’ Public health in that area seemed to only involve settlers living in urban cities. Not the Native people who relied on the river system for their crops, livestock, and drinking water.”
Radmilla’s presentation was followed by the film Yellow Fever presented by Navajo veteran & artist Tina Garnanez who investigated the history of the Navajo uranium boom and its consequences. A further highlight was the Q & A with Danish filmmaker & artist Lise Autogena. She presented her film KUANNERSUIT / KVANEFJELD about the uranium mining question in Greenland.
Saturday was marked by films and discussions about the atomic bomb program and its legacy in the US and the Marshall Islands. Film directors Taylor Dunne and Eric Stewart, presented an excerpt of her film-in-progress „Off Country“.
Special guest was Marshall Islands Atomic Cleanup veteran Paul Griego.
Uranium Film Festival Yellow Einstein Award to Brittany Prater, Deidra Peaches and Shri Prakash.
At the last day in Window Rock the festival awarded three filmmakers with its trophy, the Yellow Einstein: Filmmaker Brittany Prater received the The Young Director Award of the Uranium Film Festival for here exceptional feature documentary „URANIUM DERBY“. Brittany is a member of the New York based film collective Filmshop and in 2013 she received a Humanities Iowa Grant to produce her film Uranium Derby.
The Young Indigenous Filmmaker Award was given to Deidra Peaches for her short documentary „Doodá Leetso - The Legacy of Navajo Nation Uranium Mining“. Deidra Peaches is also co-founder of Paper Rocket Productions.
And filmmaker Shri Prakash from Ranchi in India received the International Uranium Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award „for fighting the uranium industry for more than 20 years with his camera and for giving the voiceless uranium victims, the indigenous Adivasi people from Jadugoda a powerful voice“.
„With our Award we also intend to stimulate new productions about uranium and the consequences of the nuclear industy and that Brittany Prater, Deidra Peaches as well as Shri Prakash continue with their great work“, said festival director Norbert G. Suchanek.
„The festival is proving to be a fabulous experience. Talking intensely on all things nukes with Hervé Courtois from France, Shri Prakash from India, Marcia Gomes de Oliveira from Rio, Leona Morgan from the Diné nation, and several indigenous audience members - such serious issues, such great people", commented Libbe HaLevy.
After Window Rock, the Uranium Film Festival followed the Route 66 to Flagstaff. Dec 2nd the Uranium Film Festival was held there at the Native American Cultural Center of the University of Arizona organized by navajo activist & artist Klee Benally and with the presence of local filmmaker Justin Clifton and Danish filmmaker & artist Lise Autogena.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico's most populous city, the festival took place on December 6th at the Guild Cinema with a wonderful interactive audience. "We received many messages of support and encouragement to continue to make the festival," says festival director Márcia Gomes de Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro.
The following day, December 7th, the Uranium Film Festival team travelled to Grants, the so called uranium capital of the world. Nuclear films screenings happened in the Grants Library with Students and young filmmakers of the St. Joseph Mission School and later in the wonderful Martinez Hall of the University of New Mexico Campus in Grants. The festival honored the young filmmakers who produced their first films about uranium mining and its legacy with the official festival T-shirt designed by Navajo artist Klee Benally.
The fifth stop was Santa Fe, the artistic city and capital of New Mexico, December 9th. The Santa Fe Uranium Film Festival was held in the charming Jean Cocteau Cinema, owned by "'Game Of Thrones' Author George R.R. Martin. Santa Fe Filmmaker Adam Jonas Horowitz presented "Atomic Gods: Creation Myths of the Bomb“ and producer Jay Minton presented his uranium film "Yellow Fever: Uncovering the Navajo Uranium Legacy“. Beside of that the festival screened "Devil's Work“, a short fiction film by Brazilian Miguel Silveira about use and consequences of depleted uranium weapons. Special guest was Atomic Cleanup Veteran and surviver Paul Griego who had also atended the Window Rock film screenings. Paul Griego was one of the approximately 6,000 workers and soldiers who participated in the cleanup of the Marshall Islands Enewetak Atoll from the radioactive nuclear waste of 43 atomic bombs. https://www.atomiccleanupvets.com
Final destination of the International Uranium Film Festival 2018 in the USA was Tucson in partnership with the Physicians for Social Responsibility Association of Arizona, co-sponsored by Nuclear Resister, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Sierra Club (Rincon Group) and with the presence of filmmaker Justin Clifton. The venue was the YWCA Tucson, Frances McClelland Community Center. „In Tucson the Uranium Film Festival 2018 closed with a golden key“, comments festival director Márcia Gomes de Oliveira. „Hope that we can return to Tucson and USA soon with more new films.“
"We thank all filmmakers, festival partners & supporters!" Norbert G. Suchanek.
The Uranium Film Festival Team extends its most sincere gratitude to its partners in the Southwest US, Anna Marie Rondon (New Mexico Social Justice and Equity Institute), Susan Gordon (Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment), Mikki Anaya and Kathy Altman (Physicians for Social Responsibility, Arizona) and to its supporters: the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, the Anna and Max Levinson Foundation, McCune Foundation and the Western Mining Action Network for their support making this Festival possible. Additional Festival partners and sponsors include: the New Mexico Social Justice and Equity Institute; Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment; Beyond Nuclear; Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety; Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund; Gallup Solar; Interfaith Worker Justice New Mexico; New Mexico Environmental Law Center; New Mexico Health Equity Partnership; New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light; Nuclear Watch New Mexico; Southwest Research & Information Center; and Tewa Women United.
The International Uranium Film Festival of Rio de Janeiro is dedicated to all films (movies, documentaries, animated films, image films, art, fiction and non-fiction) about any nuclear issue: uranium mining, nuclear power plants, nuclear accidents, atomic bombs, nuclear waste, radioactive risks: from Hiroshima to Fukushima. It is an annual and global film festival with traveling festivals in other countries and cities. The best and most important films of the year receive the festival award or a special recognition.
The Uranium Film Festival Award is called Yellow Einstein. It is a piece of art created by Brazilian waste-material-artist Getúlio Damado, who lives and works in the famous artist quarter Santa Teresa in Rio de Janeiro. Getúlio uses waste material that he finds in the streets of Santa Teresa and old, broken watches to remember the first atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima. Watches in Hiroshima stopped exactly at 8:15 in the morning when the A-bomb exploded on August 6th, 1945.
The Uranium Film Festival in the News. See here some links of the press coverage of the Uranium Film Festival Southwest US Tour.
International Uranium Film Festival Returns to the Southwest and Films Reveal the Horrid Truth! (jeancocteaucinema.com)
Renowned Uranium Film Festival 2018 headed for the American SouthWest (nuclear-news.net)
Window Rock uranium film festival: On Nov. 29, the International Uranium Film Festival starts in Window Rock at the Navajo Nation Museum with films about the legacy of uranium mining, nuclear power and nuclear waste.
New Mexico, Farmington: Documentaries that share stories about uranium mining and its legacy on Native American communities will be shown when the International Uranium Film Festival returns this week to Window Rock, Arizona, less than a mile across the border. (USA Today)
Nuke films? This man’s got ’em! Norbert Suchanek is the Executive Director of the International Uranium Film Festival and talks about the upcoming screenings in Arizona and New Mexico. (www.iheart.com)
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