RADIATION FILTERS: A NUCLEAR LOVE STORY

TOTAL RUN TIME: 01:53:00

LANGUAGES: ENGLISH, JAPANESE

[SUBTITLES IN ENGLISH & JAPANESE]

Radiationfilters.info

LOGLINE

A documentary, comedy, and love story woven together by the story of two nuclear power plants on opposite ends of the globe, and an energy so strong it can change your life—and all of life on this planet.

SYNOPSIS [SHORT]

RADIATION FILTERS IS A NUCLEAR LOVE STORY. PART DOCUMENTARY. PART COMEDY.

It’s about nuclear power and our world. It’s about love and toxicity. This is a documentary that will not conform. It spans continents, traverses genres, and will make you question everything you thought you knew about energy – both the kind that powers our planet, and the kind that empowers us to protect it.

SYNOPSIS [MEDIUM]

RADIATION FILTERS IS A NUCLEAR LOVE STORY. PART DOCUMENTARY. PART COMEDY.

Set in the years following the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, Radiation Filters charts the varied journeys of a ragtag network of activists, experts, witnesses and lovers - real and imagined - as they explore the impact of nuclear radiation on our world. From the contentious Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California to the irradiated remains of the Fukushima Daiichi Plant in Japan, Radiation Filters asks bold questions and spins outrageous stories around the search for truth about our planet and its energy sources. Combining investigative documentary reporting with shape-shifting narrative shenanigans, Radiation Filters is a head-spinningly unique narrative experience and highly relevant probe into nuclear energy, love and the unlikely bonds that power our world.

SYNOPSIS [LONG]

There is a nuclear meltdown in Japan. There is a contentious California nuclear plant built along a volatile fault-line. There is Dave and Pedal, two hippie activists. There is Rebecca and Stanley, paranoid lovers navigating the complicated connections between radiation and romance. There are activists, gurus, witnesses, skeptics, experts, fictional characters, real witnesses and real survivors, and somewhere in all of this there is a bigger truth about love, nuclear energy and the complicated connections between the two. Radiation Filters is a documentary that will not conform. Melding outrageous narrative stylings with clinical investigative reporting, our story spans continents and asks the big questions about energy - the kind that powers our planet, and the kind that empowers us to protect it. Set in the long aftermath of 3/11 - the day of the tsunami which crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Plant and unleased radioactive hell - Radiation Filters pierces the fog of disaster, politics and special interests to understand how nuclear energy affects our world, our relationships, and our search through all of it for a better future.

CAST AND CREW

Minea Herwitz - Creator of Radiation Filters

After graduating with Bachelors of Arts degrees in Creative Writing and Psychology from UC Santa Cruz, Minea set her artistic sights on the cinema. As a woman born and raised in a multicultural household in San Francisco, Minea’s films focused on women’s issues and transpersonal journeys, before taking a turn into environmental advocacy and social justice activism. Her passions in film include acting, directing, and editing, but her love of the craft can be found in the creation of stories that open hearts and minds to new ways of seeing and being in the world.

Oliver Mellan - Creator of Radiation Filters

Oliver Mellan studied film at the University of North Carolina Wilmington before moving to San Francisco to pursue a life as a filmmaker, artists and activist.  Oliver pushes his work in film and video beyond just exploring the subject of the film, but experimenting the way in which we experience it, interact with it, absorb and act from it.  This is Oliver’s first feature length film, and will be one of many experiments in the format of activist filmmaking.

Linda Seeley

Linda Seeley is a founding member of the Mothers for Peace organization that has been fighting for 30 years to close down the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Mothers for Peace formed in 1973 as a non-profit organization and legal intervener in the safety of the plant. Additionally, Mothers for Peace works toward a nuclear- and carbon-free world, promoting peace and planetary consciousness in conserving the natural glory of the Earth.

Donna Gilmore

A “late blooming activist,” Donna played a big role in helping shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in Southern California. She is currently appealing to the California Public Utilities Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and South California Edison, the company who owns the plant, to remove the high level radioactive waste from its on-site location 125 feet from the ocean. Her website sanonofresafety.com is an accumulation of fact-based reports she compiled to protect the California coastline from potentially cracking waste canisters, each containing millions of curies of radiation.

John Steinbach

John Steinbach is a long time anti-nuclear activist and human rights advocate who has worked with irradiated populations in Chernobyl and Japan. Based in Washington DC, John travels and delivers talks throughout the country to spread the truth about what happened in these areas of high radiation and the risks posed to the health of the environment and its inhabitants.

Helen Caldicott

Dr. Helen Caldicott is a well-known anti-nuclear activist and physician whose work has brought her into the offices of several US presidents to encourage the shutdown of power plants as well as nonproliferation and abolishment of nuclear weapons worldwide. She has written several books, including her latest “Crisis Without End” on the meltdown in Fukushima, Japan.

Annie Mellan

Annie Mellan is an International Studies graduate from Tulane University in New Orleans. She is currently working in San Francisco as a healer and advocate for underprivileged men and women. Her work extends across  many fronts, including farming, gardening, bodywork, and energy healing. Her contributions on Radiation Filters were many, including translating from Japanese to English, assistant camera, and location manager of the Japan portion of the film.

Ruiko Muto

Ruiko Muto is a Japanese community organizer and anti-nuclear activist who is currently leading a 1,500 member coalition of citizens in suing TEPCO and the Japanese Government for neglecting the safety of the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. After the March 11th disasters nearly drove her from her home, she decided to take action against those responsible for the accident for failing to report the meltdown until several days after the fact.  

FAQs

1. What inspired the film?

Worry, really. There was a lot of blind worry about radiation from Fukushima that was making people act irrationally out of a nervous fear. We wanted to create a project that could help people move past fear to a place of understanding and action. The film started out as a web series, but about halfway into it, we started setting our sights on creating a feature length film to more cohesively tell the story we wanted to share.

2. Why did you approach this topic through a docu-narrative?

The topic of nuclear energy has so many sides to it. Families are torn apart, scientists study it for years, power companies spend large amounts of money on reactors they claim can create “green” energy. Man’s relationship to atomic power has been anywhere from grim to staunchly against it to apocalyptic. We needed to involve some drama, some love stories, and some humor to connect with our audiences as we inform them on these pertinent topics. Levity at the right times can make much more relatable the overall message of the severity of these issues, as well as inspire people to take action now.

We adopted a storytelling approach that is common in Play-Back theatre, where the actors take on roles to tell someone's story. In order to draw the connection between our inner world of love and toxicity, and its effects in the macro-world of the nuclear industry and its surrounding politics, we chose to embody the struggles in our fictional characters. Both Stanley and Rebekah, the more traditional couple, and Dave and Pedal, the more new-age couple, are able to unfold two entirely separate stories: one of becoming active by learning about the situations at hand, as well as the story of the unsuspecting family whose lives are turned upside down by circumstances out of their control.

3. What is your stance pro/anti nuclear?

Through our research and experience we have grown into the stance of Pro-Clean Energy, pro-transparency (in governing bodies and corporations), anti-corporate greed, and pro-activist. We see nuclear energy as a stepping stone toward an entirely renewable energy future: to be phased out as soon as possible for healthier, cleaner alternatives. We believe the power companies and regulatory agencies who work in the energy sector should be completely transparent about their operations and the risks of the technology they employ. We also believe that corporations and governments should be held accountable when accidents happen due to neglect which cause and exacerbate disasters that could have otherwise been avoided or prevented. Ultimately, our stance is one of solution-seeking, as well as conveying the truth about the mismanagement of these inherently dangerous technologies.

4. What was it like in Fukushima?

Good. Bad. Surreal. We spent a total of two weeks there, which gave us enough time to connect with several people and visit a handful of location. Over 20,000 Fukushima residents are still displaced, living in temporary homes they had been moved to after the disasters. There is a large push by the government and some of the populace to ‘return to normal,’ even though much of the land out of commission and the most of the farmlands will never be used for farming again. Overall, the people we visited were happy to share their stories and welcoming to us as we made this film.

5. Were you ever worried about your health?

A little at first. We were told by several activists in this area that they would “never step foot in Japan,” and that the only solution was evacuation of all people. With some research about natural protectants against these harmful energies, and the advice from SAFECAST about the radioactivity in Fukushima, we were reassured that our short exposure time and limited high-level exposure would not pose the same risk as it would for longer-term, higher level exposure. We were extremely health conscious and were careful about the food we ate. All three of us are vegetarian and so avoiding meat and fish, where radiation can easily accumulate, was not a challenge. (However, in a country where most of the meals include meat, the one substitute we would be offered was mushrooms, which bioaccumulate radiation much more than any other sources of food.)

6. Who is the audience?  Why is this so pertinent to our time now?

We feel that most people can enjoy and learn from this film, as well as be inspired to act. It is effective for people who know little to nothing about nuclear energy in California, or about the events that took place on March 11th 2011 in Japan. It is a refreshing new way to look at a long-standing issue for those folks who have been fighting these battles since the first use of atomic energy during World War II. For those who argue that nuclear is “Green,” well, it’ll certainly ruffle some feathers. Luckily, they can make the switch to clean energy, too, and we can hopefully work together toward creating a non-toxic planet.

This film is poignant in this day and age because of its immediacy as an active threat to life as we know it on this planet. Whether the nuclear apocalypse is upon us, or simply the impending earthquake, these are issues that have to be acted upon today to prevent the destruction and contamination of huge swaths of life all over the globe. The fact that California is overdue for its next big quake should be reason enough to step up and prevent a meltdown that would, as in Fukushima, turn our beautiful ocean shoreline into a “look only” dead zone.

7. What is the meaning of the title?

Radiation Filters means: everything is energy. Everything radiates energy. As conscious human beings, we can act as the filter of how we receive energy and how we radiate it back out into the world. We are all filters of the energy around us and have a choice in how we let it affect us and what actions we choose to take. Also, if we keep using nuclear power, we might to need to develop actual radiation filter devices to survive on this planet.

8. What can people do after watching the movie?

Switch to clean energy! Sign our petitions to shut down the Diablo Canyon plant and to repurpose the 990 acres owned by PG&E into solar farms. Start a petition to shut down your local power plant. Get involved in the fight for renewable energy. Get active! Or: take a deep breath. Stop. Talk about what you just learned. Give someone a hug. Become a purveyor of good energy. Start now. Also: if you pay an electricity bill to one of the huge power corporations in the United States and would like to switch your energy supply to wind and solar, visit www.radiationfilters.info/cleanfuture. 

9. What was it like to crowdfund the film?

It was great! A group of over 500 supporters and community members formed around the film and so we were instantly accountable to whole host of supporters who believed in us and our project. Our backers were rooting for us, helping us out, and offering love and support for the whole of the journey. It was and continues to be an amazing experience, and I believe that the films produced by the major Hollywood studios could learn something from the crowdsourcing approach in building an audience and keeping them engaged in current events and the countless important issues of our time.

10. Greatest thing you learned on your first feature?

Understanding the structure of a two-hour movie and how to weave stories within it.  As we look forward to other films and upcoming projects, we can start to see more clearly how they they can be shaped into effective, coherent, and compelling feature length films. We learned about the love and patience it takes to create this type of work and how to continue to be kind to ourselves and one another through all the ebbs and flows of the creative process.

WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW

The film is intended for all ages, however we recommend it for ages 10 and up. The film contains no violence, minimal sexual content (a kiss or two and a broccoli eating scene that is more comedic than sexy), and no profanity or obscenity. Only the topic is what is severe, and the disaster stock footage can be a little scary for anyone. We imagined being able to share this film as part of High School environmental studies or arts & film classes, so it’s age appropriate to that extent as well.


Our ratings on a scale of 0 to 5 (where 0 = NONE and 5 = A LOT)

 POSITIVE MESSAGES - 5                        “Let’s put out good energy!”

 POSITIVE ROLE MODELS - 5                Activists who are role models, inspirational people

 VIOLENCE & SCARINESS - 2                Disaster footage, radiation & meltdown conceptualization

 LANGUAGE - 0                                        

 CONSUMERISM - 1                                Brief mention of our sponsors and their products

 DRINKING & DRUGS - 2                         Stanley’s bad energy manifests as a drinking problem

 SEXY STUFF - 2                                Two kisses, one sexyfunny broccoli scene - NO NUDITY


REVIEWS

“This film is seriously humorous, and humorously serious”

                                                         Anonymous  

“This is a fun party and a GREAT DOC!”

          Mark Christensen

“Everyone who uses electricity should see this film.”

       Solarcity

PETITION

Change.org

https://www.change.org/p/the-us-nuclear-regulatory-commission-do-not-relicense-the-aging-diablo-canyon-nuclear-power-plant

SHORTLINK

http://chn.ge/26zy7B7

PHOTOGRAPHS