Anti-Nuke Atomic Age Cinema Festival Wants To Be A “Wake-Up Call”

Atomic Age Cinema Festival

Hollywood has been warning the world about the threat of nuclear war and the danger of nuclear power for decades, from On the Beach and Dr. Strangelove to Fail Safe and The China Syndrome. Those concerns will be explored again at the Atomic Age Cinema Festival, set for Wednesday at the Raleigh Studios’ Charlie Chaplin Theater in Hollywood.

Actor and activist Esai Morales, who will serve as a panelist, told Esai MoralesDeadline that he hopes that the festival will be a “wake-up call” and that attendees will come away with “a renewed sense of useful peril – the natural concern about things that are truly pressing. Too often we’re scared about things that we shouldn’t be and not scared about things that we should be.”

Organizers say the festival is dedicated to “all films about nuclear power and the clear and present danger of terrorist threats, with ISIS stating their next target could be nuclear. Fears are being revived of dirty bombs and the very real risks of radioactivity contamination causing millions of deaths. Concerns are heightened with the safety and security of the 440 nuclear power plants in 31 countries. Recent terror events make it imperative that we become aware of the problem to resolve the problems. Nuclear accidents like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima should never be forgotten, nor repeated.”

Kicking off the festival at noon will be a screening of Hot Water, a documentary about the contamination of natural resources in the American Southwest from decades of uranium mining and atomic testing. Here’s the trailer:

Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1, which will screen at 2 PM, documents how American scientists used Marshall Islanders as “human guinea pigs” to study the effect of radioactive fallout on people. Director Adam Horowitz will be on hand to introduce it. Here’s a preview of the film:

Michael von Hohenberg, whose film Final Picture explores the effects of fallout on a small German town in the aftermath of a nuclear war, will be on hand to screen it at 4:15 PM. “Atom bombs are the stupidest things we’ve ever created,” he told Deadline via phone from Germany. “My film tells people that we have to eliminate nuclear weapons before they eliminate us. We have to do something.” Here’s the trailer: 

A panel discussion will follow the 7:30 PM screening of The Man Who Saved the World, the story of Russian Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, who prevented an all-out nuclear war in 1983 by refusing to act on orders after receiving a false report that U.S. missiles were heading toward the Soviet Union. The film is narrated by Kevin Costner. Watch an extended trailer here:

Other panelists include actress and anti-war activist Mimi Kennedy; Libbe HaLevy, producer and host of the podcast Nuclear Hotseat; and moderators Harvey Wasserman, author and anti-nuke activist, and Kat Kramer, actress and founder of the Films That Change the World documentary series.

Wasserman said that he hopes that the “the No. 1 thing people should come away with is that we need to shut down the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant as soon as possible. It sits on an active earthquake fault, and Michael Peck, its former senior resident inspector, says it could not stand up to a likely earthquake.

“We also have to look at the terror threat,” he told Deadline, calling nuclear power plants “pre-deployed weapons of mass destruction.”

Concerns that nuclear facilities could become targets of terrorists were renewed last year when surveillance footage of a top official at a Belgian nuclear power facility was discovered in the apartment of a suspected terrorist linked to November’s Paris attacks.

Among those already confirmed to attend are former NASA scientist Dennis Watts and actors Ed Asner, Louis Gossett Jr., Maria Conchita Alonso, Ed Begley Jr., George Chakiris, John Savage, Karen Kramer and Bai Ling.

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