Though my role in Radioactive Veteran is somewhat peripheral…I am very proud to be a part at all of a movie that is telling a story that informs others and can make a difference.
Tomorrow I head out to film the director for a spot related to a promo piece. But today I got the news that I am excited to share. A USA Today affiliate, The Spectrum, released an article covering our doc!
When I started The Video Slab part of my commitment was to be involved with projects that spoke to social movements, environmental concerns, and stories that would make the world a better place. Radioactive Veteran was the first real story that I have been able to be a part of in this vein and wow…what a great story to be connected to. The team I get to work with on this is fantastic.
We all live under a form of government and we all want to be able to trust that said government has our best interests at heart. What happens when they don’t? What happens when a soldier who believes in protecting his country is not protected by his own government? I won’t give much more away at this point, because the article I am copying and pasting here tells the tale much better than I can.
First…here is the trailer for the documentary: Radioactive Veteran.
Second…Here is the SOURCE for the article below.
Finally…Here is the article:
An East Coast university crew that interviewed Southern Utahns caught up in the military’s legacy of radioactive bomb tests it claimed were harmless is putting the final touches on a documentary film and seeking assistance through public crowdfunding.
“Radioactive Veteran” tells the story of Cold War-era testing conducted in the Southern Nevada desert and its effects on military personnel involved in the testing as well as civilians who lived “downwind” where radioactive fallout has been blamed for a host of illnesses in the decades since.
A movie trailer posted online includes interview snippets with Southern Utah historian and former Dixie State University President Douglas Alder and retired DSU professor Andrew Barnum, as well as dramatic archival footage of soldiers crossing the desert from their trenches toward a mushroom cloud billowing up over the desert.
The primary focus of the approximately 15-minute clip will be the life and death of Marine Donald Guy, who was sent from Camp Lejeune, N.C., to the Nevada Test Sitefor what would be dubbed “Operation Upshot Knothole — Shot Badger” in 1953.
“Along with thousands of other Marines and soldiers, Donald was assured he was safe as he gazed at the billowing mushroom cloud and marched through the desert toward the atomic blast,” an overview of the film states. “Within only a few years, however, Donald began experiencing serious medical issues resulting from radiation exposure and soon became disabled. For the rest of his life, he fought for disability benefits with Veterans Affairs, but in 2009 he died before receiving his due compensation.”
North Carolina Central University Professor Craig Kabatchnick, a former Veterans Affairs attorney who founded the university’s Veterans Law Clinic in 2007, became interested in the plight of Guy and his widow and began assembling a film team in 2013 to tell the story of the Downwinder battles for compensation.
“He was repelled four times (by the shock wave),” Kabatchnick said last year. “They were guinea pigs. Everybody was.”
Kabatchnick claims the government applied artificially low standards for the Nevada test subjects when performing radiation dose reconstruction work to establish whether people were exposed to enough radiation to make them ill, something that continues to be disputed by officials, he said.
Bradley Bethel, the film’s producer, said Thursday that the crew decided to create a short documentary film and release it online, then try to pull together grant funding for a feature-length film that could enjoy wider distribution in theaters.
That would involve returning to St. George to add to the 12 interviews the crew initially filmed in 2014, he said.
“We think it’s a really powerful story focusing on the one veteran and his widow … and their fight for justice and compensation,” Bethel said. “There’s still plenty of material (the film crew) did get that we won’t be able to fit into the short. But you have to find your story and then stay focused on it.”
Bethel said the crowdfunding campaign will probably launch Friday and although the outlet has not been decided, he is hoping to use seedandspark.com, which fosters documentary filmmaking and provides additional package benefits based on the campaign’s success.
The crew is aiming for $10,000 to complete post-production but even if at least 500 people sign up for updates without contributing, that will be enough to help the film get marketing-related services that “would be a huge, huge help with spreading the word,” Bethel said.
If Seed and Spark doesn’t work for the campaign launch, the crew could move to website IndieGoGo, he said.
“Because the film is sponsored by the not-for-profit American Hero Legal Defense Fund, contributions are tax-deductible,” he added.
Bethel reaffirmed the crew’s hopes to debut the film at DSU’s DOCUTAH film festival. He said the online premiere is planned for Veterans Day in November, possibly on the popular website Short of the Week, after some additional film festivals in September and October.
“It’s been a cool process,” he said.
Follow Kevin Jenkins, @SpectrumJenkins. Call him at 435-674-6253.
‘Radioactive Veteran’ trailer
Utah documentary interviews
Douglas Alder: Former president of Dixie State University, historian
Lolly Seal: Daughter of Downwinder activist.
Daniel Miles: Historian, scientist, author of Radioactive Clouds of Death.
Bruce Church: Scientist for Atomic Energy Commission during testing.
Heber Jones: Schoolteacher in St. George during testing.
Andrew Barnum: Scientist at the Nevada Test Site.
Edward Liman: Utah historian.
Nancy Williams: St. George citizen, thyroid cancer patient.
Carl Wadsworth: Extra during John Wayne movie “The Conqueror” filmed at Harrisburg.
Tamra Begay: Dixie State student studying Downwinders.
Terry Bell: Affected by tests in St George.
Shabran Bashir: Dixie State historian.
Joel Symes: Radioactive veteran, Shot Smoke