Telling the secrets of the nuclear story

Telling the secrets of the nuclear story

By MAHIMA DAYAL | | 12 January, 2013
A still from the stop-motion film Leonids story by Director Rainer Ludwigs

The Uranium Film Festival was held in Delhi this weekend to allow audiences to gather a nuanced overview of the global issue of nuclear power generation.

The festival intends to use the big screen as a medium to share the story of nuclear power that transcends geographical barriers with more than 30 films by 40 directors. The festival originated in May 2011 in Rio de Janeiro where the Brazilian government decided to install 40-50 new nuclear plants, triple the production of Yellow cake and also planned to export the same in the near future. The second edition of the festival travelled to Berlin in 2012 and after the screenings in Delhi, held at the Siri fort auditorium from 4 – 6 January, it is slated to now travel to Shillong, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, and Thrissur.

""Knowing the risks of nuclear power is important for decision making. And films are the best way to bring information to the people", says festival director Norbert G. Suchanek. "There are many important documentaries and movies about nuclear issues that never reach the mass media. Our festival provides these films and filmmakers with an international audience and media attention" he adds.

Norbert G. Suchanek and Marcia Gomes de Oliveira's 20 minute film, The Speech of the Chief has been selected for five international Film festivals. The film is about the indigenous people of Guarani Mbyá, south of Rio de Janeiro and their chieftain, who makes a prophecy about nuclear technology and its future. "The indigenous people there have to live with two Atomic Power Stations and the third one is also under construction" said Gomes, who was elated that her films were able transcend lingual and geographical barriers and travel.

The festival intends to use the big screen as a medium to share the story of nuclear power that transcends geographical barriers with more than 30 films by 40 directors. 

For Sri Prakash, Filmmaker & Organiser of the Uranium Film Festival in India, the festival is a "personal journey", which started when he met Norbert in 2006 at Windorah in Navajo. Two of his films on uranium – Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda and Jadugoda – The Black Magic, have been screened at the Uranium Festival. Jadugoda, which is a village in the state of Bihar, suffers due to the uranium mining activities that bear heavily on the locals. "Given the recent dissent in areas like Kudankulam, against nuclear plants, I feel that this is the perfect time for bringing this festival here. It is not about the good and the bad, anti or pro. It is not about devising a much divided opinion. It is only about sharing experiences" he says.

This is the only festival in the world which is dedicated to the nuclear fuel chain and grapples with issues from exploration and mining of radioactive minerals like uranium to nuclear energy production, atomic waste, nuclear medicine, atomic bombs, nuclear war, and nuclear or radioactive accidents. Films like Leonids story or After the day after by Director Rainer Ludwigs uses stop motion and combine photographs and drawings to capture the surreal emotion. Grave issues like radiation, addressed in the festival, use a genre like thriller-comedy in the Swedish film, Coffee-break by Marko Kattilakoski. "We are talking about films on this issue rather than the issue with the film" adds Sri Prakash.

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