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Examining landscapes of nuclear weapons testing in the American Southwest: A Multimedia Documentary Feature

Off Country: A Multimedia Documentary Feature, KICK STARTER

A multimedia oral history project examining landscapes of nuclear weapons testing and anti-nuclear activism in the American Southwest.  

About this project

For the past two years we have traveled throughout Colorado and New Mexico, interviewing activists and community members whose lives have been impacted by the nuclear weapons industry.  We have listened to stories both heartbreaking and inspiring. We have heard about calling into work sick to go on a Backcountry Action in Nevada to stop an underground nuclear weapons test, about quitting your job to dedicate your life full-time to shutting down Rocky Flats, and we have heard about sickness, death, and imprisonment. In the face of both adversity and triumph, these are stories about solidarity, community and a profound commitment to environmental and racial justice.

Our project is a feature-length experimental documentary and multimedia oral history archive that examines three regions in the west, the former Rocky Flats Plant, the White Sands Missile Range and the Nevada Test Site. Off Country investigates the environmental consequences of the nuclear weapons industry as well as racist and classist policies inherent in the storage, mining, and production of radioactive material. We have driven more than 8000 miles, shot over two and a half hours of 16mm film and collected nearly twenty hours of interviews and field recordings.

The film was started with a small grant from CU Boulder, this grant allowed us to perform field work for 4 weeks in the summer of 2016. We shot over 2000 feet of film during this period. Since then we have traveled to New Mexico  numerous times and have spent $8,000 on our own conducting fieldwork. Thanks to a small grant from The Puffin Foundation we were able to process and transfer about half of our footage. At bare minimum, we need an additional $10,000 to process the remaining film and transfer it to video.

In order to continue our work we have started a Kickstarter campaign and invite you to help. We are fiscally sponsored by Basement Films so all donations are tax deductible.

Why Now?

In 1992 the closing of the Rocky Flats Plant outside of Boulder Colorado halted the industrial production of nuclear weapons. There are currently plans underway to construct a plutonium pit production facility at Los Alamos National Labs in New Mexico, in order to modernize the U.S. nuclear stockpile for the 21st Century, despite lingering environmental contamination left by the legacy of the 20th century.

In the 1940s, New Mexico was chosen as the site for the Manhattan Project and the world’s first atomic weapons test because of its remoteness and the military’s perception that “no one” lived there. However, the Mescalero Indian reservation was established just seven miles from ground zero, and Hispanic families had been ranching in the area for generations. What the military meant by “no one” was that no Anglo-Americans lived in the area.

The film will be bilingual and focus on nuclear weapons testing, manufacturing, and storage, with an emphasis on social justice and environmental restoration. Additionally, the archive will document and catalog a diverse chorus of voices whom history has neglected. This archive will be a tool for researchers, historians, and activists, to learn not only about history but the human stories of people resisting environmental contamination and political oppression……..


October 14, 2017 - Posted by | Resources -audiovicual

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