UPDATE: THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN EXPANDED. I WILL TRAVEL TO FUKUSHIMA AS WELL AS
BACK TO CHERNOBYL/PRIPYAT A THIRD TIME
Photos from second trip to Chernobyl
continues to speak in its steady voice, decaying buildings emptied of people,
time stamp images of a 1986 Soviet life, of its strange upside down world where
a contaminated nature reclaims a city where wolves and bears roam at night. The
vibrant city of 50,000 people is no more. What has happened to the people? How
has their life been altered? And now 25 years later it is Fukushima’s turn.
What lessons does Pripyat have for those living near Fukushima right now?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_ixgvMzls4 Click for UTube interview
around Chernobyl were 250 villages and settlements that were evacuted due to
the accident - the Chernobyl Exclusion zone now encompasses more than 1,600
square miles of Northern Ukraine and Southern Belarus. Not used to “city
life” becoming depressed there are those that resettled, came back to the
Chernobyl area and to their “motherland”, the land in which they grew up on and
worked, as their parents had and their parents parents. What does it mean to a
villager to use terms like exclusion zone when to many of them the “outside” is
the exclusion zone and their “inclusion zone” is a land now contaminated? And
with Fukushima there are those who refuse to leave their homes even as similar
ghost towns have been created as with Chernobyl. What is the overwhelming
desire for home, for one’s land that can outweigh such a potent fear as living
in a radioactive landscape?
nuclear moment has consequences not just for those who are evacuated. There is
inevitably the cleanup. In the case of Chernobyl, there were over 500,000
people involved with this. Most did not know what health risks they were
taking. One driver to Chernobyl told me that the drivers to the clean up wanted
to go as the government provided free vodka. What are the systems in place that
tell half truths to the people, whether it be 25 years ago with young soldiers
given the choice between a bloody war in Afganistan and or a battle with an
enemy that they could not see, touch or feel, but nevertheless shortened many
of their lives. And in Japan, why have Japanese officials raised the acceptable level of ratiation exposure for school children near Fukushima or explained away thousands of tons of radioactive water into a "vast ocean"?
nuclear age is still upon us and will be here for some years and perhaps
decades to come. The potential for an accident with so many hundreds of
functioning reactors, whether it to be human or mechanical failure, natural
event, terror attack, or even something as benign as a power grid failure is
perhaps more likely than not as the years stretch. Every reactor has to it the
ability to spread it’s wings thousands of miles through the wind. Each of us
has a nuclear question to be with.
film will bring attention to those who have lived through or are living through
the consequence of a nuclear accident. The few that I have already talked to do
not want to be poster children of an anti-nuclear movement. They do not want to
be used. These people have very human experiences in which to share. Their
stories touch on the deeper issues of home. What is it to be told to move from
a house that looks intact, to be told that the land itself will be soiled
longer than you or your children will be alive, that you cannot rebuild, even
when everything looks fine? What is the place in us of fear and panic when we think
of an enemy that we cannot see, touch or feel, that might have effect our bodies
five, ten, or twenty years into the future?
THE PROJECT –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
gone to Chernobyl and Pripyat twice, self funding both times. While in Kyiv I
met with the head of the director of the Chernobyl museum and showed her a
snippet of this film. She agreed to help me find people from Pripyat, as she
said, “your film will come alive” through these people. I also began talks with
the head of www.Pripyat.com an
organization that has done much to keep current the community of those from
Pripyat. It is understood that respect is absolutely essential, that agenda is
not to be pushed, nor people to be used. This will be a film of inquiry and
also now been asked to come to Fukushima. I have been offered a guide to take
me into the exclusion zone. Chernobyl and Fukushima are related and will be for
generations to come. Fukushima and Chernobyl / Pripyat have much risks.
Radiation does not fall evenly. There are hot spots to be aware of. In Pripyat
it is essential that one has a guide who knows these areas. In Fukushima one
needs a giger counter at all times. One needs to be alert and aware that
radiation is a very real force.
Kickstarter project will help fund a third trip to Pripyat and the Ukraine, to
begin in earnest the process of interviews. It will help fund a trip to Japan
and Fukushima, to travel into the exclusion zone and interview people who have
stayed and those who have left.
iself is expensive, easily over $500 per day to work there, where I plan on spending
two more days of photographing and filming. While in the Ukraine I will dive
deeper into the history of Pripyat through archival footage, film and
sound…Ultimate usage of this material will involve costs. Your Kickstarter
support will help fund the various expenses of travel - air and car - accomondation,
permits, and the many other costs involved with a documentary film of this
nature in areas of different language and cultures.
will help to continue the project moving forward. So far I have used my own
monies driven by the desire to address the issues of these nuclear moments. I
saw a similar story unfolding in Fukushima as had occurred in Chernobyl 25
years earlier. Information was slow coming out. Exlusion zones began to form
and widen as the days progressed. People were not specifically told that their
homes, their towns and their land would now be dead for as long as they and
their children’s children would be alive. A little information here, a little
information there, but the people were not given the full spectrum of what was
happening, and with this the repeat of what had happened at Chernobyl two
decades and a half earlier.
This film will
serve if it can evoke the larger questions of home and environment. It is what
we model with the human experience living in a world of close to 7 billion people hungry for
energy. We now are being forced to deal with the consequences of this hunger.
What is the deal we make with the larger home in which we live, not only for
ourselves, but for the next generation and those that follow? Nuclear is one
example of the edge we play. Chernobyl and Fukushima are beacons to remind us of
the delicate balance in which we find ourselves. Both are museums now to
humanity. My desire is that people be reminded and form their own answers to
the deeper question of our place in nature and nature’s place with us through
this film, Voices of Pripyat.