Those who couldn't make it to the recent International Uranium Film Festival in Portugal have missed an amazing event at a special place where uranium mining started more than a hundred years ago. From September 13th to September 15th the festival was organised in partnership with ATMU (Former Uranium Mine Workers Association) and former uranium miners and their families in the towns Urgeiriça (Nelas), Viseu and Mangualde in the Dão region of central Portugal.
„We thank especially the former surviving uranium miners and their incredible wives for the warm welcome and their enthusiastic commitment for the festival“, said Uranium Film Festival’s executive director Márcia Gomes de Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro. And the President of ATMU added. „The Uranium Film Festival was, in fact, one of the most interesting cultural and scientific initiatives in which we had the privilege to participate. We extend our most sincere congratulations to the festival directors Márcia Gomes de Oliveira and Norbert G. Suchanek for three days of films, debates and remarkable of all, raising awareness.“
"We confess that we did not know some of the cases we were made aware of: the uncertain future of the Utah Ute people in the Grand Canyon; the scandalous case of Palomares, who lived under the shadow of lies for decades; and the living despair of Jadugoda whose inhabitants, the Adivasi, are sacrificed by uranium mining and under the hollow argument of so called development", write the two observers Catarina Gameiro Minhoto & João Paiva in their final festival report to ATMU.
"Each case is unique, but the reality is the same. Let us quote a phrase from the Wismut movie (Yellow Cake) which said that uranium mining happened under a web of lies, propaganda and lack of information. Same in Palomares, where in 1966 two US planes crashed and four atomic bombs felt from the sky and where even today the United States and the now democratic government of Spain seem to hide the truth behind that accident and its ongoing consequences. We also mention Jadugoda where the situation is dramatic and where the authorities - like the nuclear industry in Brazil (INB) - insist on ignorance. Worse than natural ignorance, is conscious ignorance, based on the lie about the truth. The consequences of this attitude on the part of the authorities are clear: thousands of people suffering from cancer and other diseases; with terrible social conditions; the surroundings of these mines became ecological time bombs. To our great shock, we have learned by the film that the main reason why the environmental situation is often untreated and the legacies of uranium mining are not rehabilitated is that the end point of nuclear fuel production is extremely costly. And no profit waiting. The big companies or uranium mills do not want to spend money on this last stage. The final price of this insensitivity is paid by the people of the surrounding areas, is paid by the environment, is paid by all of us."
Movies left a lasting impression on the audience
Catarina Gameiro Minhoto & João Paiva's comments show that the documentary movies screened have left a lasting impression on the audience in Portugal, especially the four films: YELLOW CAKE. THE DIRT BEHIND URANIUM by Joachim Tschirner, BUDA CHORA EM JADUGODA (BUDDHA WEEPS IN JADUGODA) by Shri Prakash, HALF LIFE: THE STORY OF AMERICA’S LAST URANIUM MILL (MEIA VIDA: A HISTÓRIA DO ÚLTIMO MOINHO DE URÂNIO DA AMÉRICA) by Justin Clifton and OPERACIÓN FLECHA ROTA. ACCIDENTE NUCLEAR EN PALOMARES (BROKEN ARROW. NUCLEAR ACCIDENT IN PALOMARES) by Jose Herrera Plaza.
In addition, filmmaker and writer JOSE HERRERA PLAZA received in Portugal the Uranium Film Festival's "Life Time Achievement Award" for his investigative efforts and dedication to unveil the dramatic nuclear accident at Palomares in 1966, the crash of an US-American aircraft carrying four nuclear bombs on board, and for his commitment to ensure that this accident that caused a permanent contamination of parts of Palomares with radioactive Plutonium will not be forgotten.
Festival partners and participants conclude that in 2020 the Uranium Film Festival shall be held again in Portugal and for the first time also in Spain. You are invited!
Support the Uranium Film Festival
As the Uranium Film Festival has no big sponsors from the industry it depends mainly on donations by concerned people. For that we kindly ask for your support. Only with your help and donation we can continue and to organize the festival not only in Rio de Janeiro and Berlin in 2020 but also in Portugal, Spain and other countries like USA and Greenland.
Founder and directors of the Uranium Film Festival
Name: Norbert Suchanek / Uranium Film Festival
Bank: GLS Gemeinschaftsbank Bochum / Germany
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International Uranium Film Festival
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