If you follow my blog you are probably sorta tired of hearing about Radioactive Veteran. I SWEAR to you that I am working on lots of other fun projects as well. But just too tired to write about them…because I am working on them instead of writing about them.
I just posted yesterday that Radioactive Veteran got fully funded…right? I mean, that’s good news.
Well tonight the producer, Bradley Bethel, group messaged us that our doc got accepted into DocUtah. Is that fricking off the charts cool…or what?
Hint..the answer isn’t “or what”.
DocUtah is an international film festival. That’s classy. But you know what is even better? It is in St. George, Utah. St. George Utah is one of the primary towns affected by the very kinds of tests that Radioactive Veteran highlights.
As one local resident put it back in the 1950’s…
“I remember thinking that it was normal to see piles of dead lambs …”
What could be a more fitting location to kick off this film’s public entree? I can’t think of one.
We hope you’ll come out and see it. More details to follow once we know them on precisely what time of day the film will premiere.
I have been very fortunate in my short life so far working in video. My first professional foray into the field resulted in being an Associate Producer of Radioactive Veteran, a movie about…well…just read my previous posts. In short, it’s fricking awesome. It also just got fully funded to the tune of 10K on Seed & Spark.
The two guys above were part of the team that it wouldn’t have happened without. I first met Brad in the video biz when he screened his movie Unverified here in Chapel Hill. I was really impressed with it. I had worked with him in another capacity outside of the video realm for a while…and was always hampering with notions that perhaps someday we could work together. Now we have and it was great.
I met Mark when I heard he was looking for help with turning a whole lot of great information and footage into a full fledged documentary.
We met for coffee and…well…now it is fully funded. It’s been a great process for me to watch unfold and I learned a lot. Mainly what I learned is that it takes a team. Also I learned that though there are many times when you are up against a deadline…the fact is that nothing really happens quickly. There will be so many revisions and so many late nights and “last minute changes” and “it’s good…but how about we change this…?”
I am hoping to be able to attend some of the film festivals where this movie will ideally (fingers crossed) be showing. If it comes to a town near you, check it out. Especially if you know of any vets from the WWII era…it’s really a riveting look into their lives.
The latest and greatest updates on Radioactive Veteran!
If you are first time visitor to The Video Slab here is the latest…I am in the lucky position of being an Assistant Producer for a really powerful documentary film called Radioactive Veteran. It’s been such a privilege to have this film come into my life. That may sound corny…but this kind of story is exactly why I spent all those nights teaching myself video editing and filming in the first place.
We just received word (we=the whole team working on this) that this movie has been accepted as a work-in-progress screening at the Film Festival of Columbus! Yes!
Anyway, we are also in the midst of a fundraising campaign to aid us in helping the full length version reach it’s full potential in terms of production value. We are using a service called Seed & Spark. Out of the $10K originally sought we are already halfway funded!
Currently we are 54% funded. It’s going really really well.
But if you haven’t followed us on Seed & Spark or would like to contribute, please consider doing so. We could really benefit from people sharing the link and following our efforts with as many people as they feel comfy doing so with. As of today we have 26 days remaining!
The more you work in video the more you realize that you can’t claim anything as your own. Just like no millionaire ever made a dollar without all of the gears moving of every single person in their company working away. Being part of a documentary is the same way. I am super proud of the trailer you just watched. Putting it together was a whole lot of fun and also had a lot of gravity wrapped into it. It’s heavy stuff. As the video editor, I could claim that “I” put it together because I did a lot of the edits and final cuts. But you know…I really didn’t. It was a team effort all the way around. The footage you see there has been captured by 5 or 6 different people spanning the years 1953 to 2016. The sound was offered up by two different musicians. Final edits to the trailer were worked on by three different people. Who gets final credit?
If you really care about the story, then the final credit should go to the people you are making the story about. What matters is that the story is told well and in a way that makes people think, makes them change, makes them want a better world.
Creating a documentary isn’t like creating a commercial or a show. It’s an art form. And there is a canvas there that a whole lot of people got to paint on. I was just one of them. Am I proud to have been a part of the process? Damn straight. It’s a powerful story and it’s been great to move it along into the public eye in service to the literal Radioactive Veteran (Donald Guy) and his widow…and all of the hard work of Prof K and Mark Wampler.
If you love a powerful story and you want to contribute to making the world a fairer place…or if you at least want there to be more things around that can inform the public about wrongs so that they hopefully can be repaired…then you should seriously consider not just sitting back and watching this trailer.
You should really at least share it with someone who is a vet, or someone who knows one…or anyone who cares about doing the right thing and not losing track of how our country has forgotten to do so in the past. Because making the world a better place is like making a movie. It takes a lot of moving parts. But if everyone works together, something beautiful can happen. But it does take a contribution and giving what you can give at the right moments.
Radioactive Veteran is a powerful story that deserves a spotlight…with your help you can be a part of history. To wit…”Between 1945 & 1962 there were about 550,000 Atomic-Veterans. That’s down to about 123,000 today & about 1,600 are dying monthly.” Donald Guy was part of a story that has barely been told and it’s a story that we shouldn’t lose track of.
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.
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.
Oh my goodness it has been a busy time. And because of that I must write briefly here about this fantastic trailer that you are likely to watch…and hopefully share with someone else..who will then share it with- you get the picture.
I met Mark Wampler a while back when he was putting out the feelers for a video editor to help him tell this very compelling story about vets who were exposed to nuclear weapons testing in the 1950’s.
Discussions took place, introductions were made, and a team came together over time and now this beauty of a trailer is newly minted and ready for the presses. FYI, I did not end up being the editor for this piece. I just sort of was a cheerleader on this project trying to help when I could with a bit here and there. It’s the kind of story though that got me excited in the first place about what film and video can do to make the world a more informed and better place.
The full movie will be forthcoming. But in the meantime, if you know any WWII vet or anyone dedicated to veteran’s rights, this is going to be a must see show.