The story of the Nuclear Age has been one of secrecy and suppression going back to the Manhattan Project, the first atomic test in New Mexico, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This year’s 10th edition of the International Uranium Film Festival, held in Rio de Janiero from May 20 to 30 – but with films available to all streaming and free of charge – includes numerous documentaries that expose untold or little known cover-ups.
One of them is my own new film Atomic Cover-up, which the festival has touted as one of its three highlights. But other films – see full list and access for viewing – explore among other outrages, from Algeria to Australia to America: the legacy of bomb tests in the Pacific, nuclear plant disasters from before Chernobyl to Fukushima, radiation tests on humans, nuclear arsenals and accidents, and atomic refugees.
My own film, Atomic Cover-up, premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival earlier this spring and has just been selected for the Venezia Festival in Italy. It is the first documentary to explore the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 from the unique perspective, words and startling images of the brave cameramen and directors who risked their lives filming in the irradiated aftermath.
It reveals how this historic footage, created by a Japanese newsreel crew and then an elite U.S. Army team (who shot the only color reels), was seized, classified top secret, and then buried by American officials for decades to hide the full human costs of the bombings as a dangerous nuclear arms race raged. All the while, the producers of the footage made valiant efforts to find and expose their shocking film, to reveal truths of the atomic bombings that might halt nuclear proliferation. Atomic Cover-up represents, at least in part, the film they were not allowed to make, as well as a tribute to documentarians everywhere.
It is based entirely on firsthand accounts of key members of the film crews (from the man who shot an early Akira Kurosawa movie to a pioneering American TV director) and the first vivid 4K transfers of their footage – much of it appearing in a US documentary for the first time – as well as long-hidden records which document the official suppression. These rich, vital materials are carefully assembled for haunting effect and maximum relevance for today as nuclear dangers reach peak intensity and official “cover-ups” expand.
When it premiered at Cinequest, it was in a “pay” portal but its ten-day May 20-30 run is free. Go to the festival site for access.
For more on Atomic Cover-up, to view the trailer, and learn how to contact me directly, go here.
Greg Mitchell is the author of The Tunnels and a dozen other books and writer-director of the documentary Atomic Cover-up.