Buried in Earthskin

South-Africa, 2009, 50 min, English & Africaans
Latin American Premiere

Inspired by a dream of nuclear waste as a malignant tumour in the earths skin a woman journalist sets off on a road trip. She follows the route taken by the trucks carrying nuclear waste from the nuclear power plant in Cape Town to their destination in the pristine semi-desert region of Namaqualand. There she meets men and women of the Nama-Khoi tribe, who live in the area, and listens to their untold stories. Over 8 years, her investigation leads her to the homes of other communities living and working in close proximity to nuclear facilities - from nuclear fuel manufacturing plants to nuclear waste dumps and future nuclear power plant sites. Buried in Earthskin subtly demonstrates how energy and political power go hand in hand, and gives a voice to marginalized indigenous peoples who have paid the ultimate price for decisions made (about where we get our electric power) for the sake of political and financial power.

Special Achievement Award

for the director's confidence in her native instincts to create a film that follows the route taken by trucks transporting nuclear waste from Cape Towns's reactors to a disposal site in the pristine semi-desert of Namaquiland. All along the way she discovers realities both indigenous and technological. Her intrepid effort to get to the bottom of South Africa's nuclear program takes her to experts for and against the technology. Her film's stunning conclusion starts with the revelation that South Africa has already developed safe alternatives to nuclear fission with wind and solar installations up and running, and more on the way; but Buried in Earthskin's conclusion goes into a sudden nosedive with the disclosure that tens of billions of dollars have been committed by the South African government for building more nuclear reactors. Gandhi is quoted at the end with a thought as relevant in South Africa as it is worldwide:

There is enough in this world for everyone's need; there is not enough in the world for everyone's greed.

Robert del Tredici