A short story about the International Uranium Film Festival
The International Uranium Film Festival (IUFF) - since 2016 also known as Atomic Age Cinema Fest - is dedicated to all nuclear issues and the whole nuclear fuel chain: from uranium mining to nuclear waste, from nuclear war to nuclear accidents. This in the world unique film festival was founded in 2010 in Rio de Janeiro and took place for the first time in May 2011 in two historical cultural centres in the bohemian quarter Santa Teresa. It was a successful start that attracted especially schools with hundreds of students and teachers. In addition the festival received invitations from all over the world.
Since 2012, Rio de Janeiro’s prestigious Modern Art Museum (MAM Rio) became Uranium Film Festival partner and its Cinematheque our main venue in Rio. In addition the festival travelled in 2012 to Portugal and conquered Berlin to become the festival's second home. From India awarded filmmaker Shri Prakash has come to Berlin to present his master piece „Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda“. And one thing came to another. Shri Prakash became part of the festival’s growing „nuclear family“ and organized with us in the following year an outstanding 10 cities festival tour through India from New Delhi to Hyderabad and Mumbai, that he could repeat in 2014. Tollywood film star and activist Amala Akkineni (photo) from Hyderabad honoured the Uranium Film Festival twice with her presence.
Shri Prakash remembers: “The most moving and humbling moment of the festival was when a young student in Hyderabad shed tears and with a lump in her throat said, she felt betrayed by her upbringing and education which kept her in dark about dark issues as this. She said, till her participation in the festival she had no idea, not even remotely close, about such cruel and inhumane things happening in the world and shaking the world while she was breathing the same air in the very same world.“ In Ranchi, the capital of India’s uranium mining state Jharkhand, the Adivasi people were the stars of the festival. For decades the Adivasi suffer from uranium mining in Jadugoda. So the Uranium Film Festival presented the work of young adivasi photographer Ashish Birulee for the first time to a wider public. „My photo exhibition `Jadugoda Unumo Tana: Drowning In Nuclear Greed´ was a great success“, remembers Ashish Birulee. „I became the first Adivasi from Jharkhand to exhibit my photos at an international platform. The exposure which I received led me to more national and international photo exhibitions.
A real „Winter’s Tale“ was our festival in New York City. The Uranium Film Festival In New York was organized in cooperation with Peace Boat US in Brooklyn in extremely cold and snowy February 2014. The venue was the historical film theatre "The Pavilion". Although the heating of the cinema was out of service because of a snow break, New Yorkers from all parts of the city came to the festival to watch the films wrapped up in coats and scarves. Peace Boat volunteer staff Rachel Clark reported: „Living in Metropolitan New York area, we often only see the threat of nuclear power plants to local residents, whose stances are from the viewpoint of both energy consumers and (potential) victims. At the Pavilion Theater, however, many audience members were shocked by the chaotic situation at the uranium production sites. Scenes depicting uranium mining workers in India and Africa working without any protective gear, bulldozers generating radioactive dusts and mounds of radioactive dirt in order to obtain just a handful of yellow cake—the extracted pure form of uranium— and radioactive toxic waste being dumped into rivers, ponds, and open air left a lasting impact.“
In partnership with Hollywood star Kat Kramer, founder of "Films That Change the World", the Uranium Film Festival reached Los Angeles in 2016 and achieved another mile stone. Venue was the Raleigh Studios, since 1915 home of film industry icons such as Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. The prestigious 160 seat Chaplin Theater at Raleigh Studios was filled to the last seat when the outstanding movies "The Man Who Saved the World“ by Peter Anthony with stars like Kevin Costner and "Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1“ by Adam Horowitz had their Hollywood premiere. The film screening was followed by a nuclear power panel mixed with stars and nuclear experts like Mimi Kennedy, Harvey Wasserman, Loe Gossett Jr., Kat Kramer, Esai Morales and Libbe HaLevy.
"The International Uranium Film Festival in Hollywood was - you should pardon the expression - a blast! Wonderful people came to watch the films and were blown away by what they viewed. `The Man Who Saved the World´ was, if anything, more impactful this second time I viewed it. Kudos to festival director Norbert G. Suchanek, in from his home in Rio, and local event producer Alexandra Radlovic for pulling together such a great event", said Libbe HaLevy, panelist and producer of the radio show Nuclear Hotseat. And Elena Nicklasson, director of Development of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation commented: "I Loved this event! Great to see so many Hollywood stars supporting nuclear disarmament! The red carpet was amazing thanks to festival’s event producer Alexandra Radlovic."
In 2018, the International Uranium Film Festival was held for the 2nd time in Window Rock at the Navajo Nation Museum in partnership with Navajo activist Anna Rondon and Susan Gordon from the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment as co-organizers. One of the highlights was the performance of Navajo singer, songwriter and former Miss Navajo, Radmilla Cody remembering the catastrophic Church Rock uranium mill tailings dam breach in 1979: The breach released more than 1,000 short tons of solid radioactive mill waste and almost 400 million liters of acidic, radioactive tailings solution into the Puerco River. After Window Rock, the Uranium Film Festival toured through New Mexico and Arizona to Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Flagstaff, the uranium capital Grants and thanks to the Physicians for Social Responsibility Association Arizona also to Tucson.
Norbert G. Suchanek & Márcia Gomes de Oliveira
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Nuclear Hotseat: QUEBEC SPECIAL Nuclear Hotseat: Navajo Nation Recent reports about the festival