Tucker and I have made excellent progress on our doc! We visited Peekskill, NY a town which overlooks Indian Point Power Plant. The walkway along the Hudson was quite beautiful, though the nuclear plant looming right over it was quite ominous. Here are some behind the scene pictures from our journey:
iPhone photo of Indian Point presiding over the Hudson River by Georgia Krause.
Tucker checking for tritium.
Tucker overheating in his unnecessarily large jacket as he shoots footage of Indian Point power plant.
Arriving at the Peekskill “Scenic Hudson Park”.
Tucker on the train to Peekskill, stoked about filming the power plant!
Additionally we have officially secured the rights to use the Scott Waldman interview in my last post titled “5 Years After Fukushima, How vulnerable is Indian Point?”
I am also in the process of arranging several interviews. One of the individuals I am speaking with and hoping to record an interview with is Arthur Ginsberg who worked for Indian Point power plant for several years.
I am also arranging an interview with Dr. Irwin Redlener the director of Columbia’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness and Dr. David Brenner, who directs Columbia’s Center for Radiological Research.
We are also hoping to get an activist perspective and someone who is currently employed by Indian Point.
Thus far on our project Tucker and I have done preliminary research on Indian Point, interviewed Alfred Meyer, and Tucker has gone to Peekskill, NY to document the SAPE2016 rally. While Tucker’s documentation is easy to show visually (though cold) my work has been predominantly on the research side. While Tucker’s research is much more hands on, my research looks more like this:
But I have found quite a good deal of interesting archival footage and documents that we can incorporate (once we get permission) into our documentary. Including this WNYC interview with Scott Walderman.
This letter sent from Andrew Cuomo warning energy CEO and Commissioners of the dangers of Indian Point.
Moving forward plan to collect more archival footage and documents pertinent to the Indian Point Energy Facility, and we plan to go shoot at the site itself this Wednesday. We are not sure what to expect, but we will do our best investigative journalism. We are also both working to secure at least two more interviews from experts in the area. Tucker is aiming to make a connection with some of the activists he met at the SAPE rally while I am reaching out to professional medical researchers at the NYU Langone Center for Medical Research. We will update with more behind the scenes action (process photos this time I promise) when we make our trek out to the power plant site itself.
After seeing the phenomenal documentary Racing Extinction, and hearing George Pakenham speak and screen his film “Idle Threat”, I began looking at my own role in art activism. I’m in film school to tell the stories I’m most interested in; this means climate change should be a theme in my work. I reflected on all of my previous blog posts to get inspiration for a short film I could make in my spare time. In the end I chose to further explore my blog post “Maybe Milk Isn’t So Healthy” through stop motion photography. As I brainstormed ideas, I thought about my favorite scenery in and around New York. I immediately thought of Rockaway Beach, where I spend many of my summer days, and Bear Mountain, where I go to escape the city and work up a sweat hiking. I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose toxins and contaminates with the beauty of nature. Clearly I wouldn’t be using real nuclear waste in my film, so I thought Holi powder would be an interesting visual stand-in for toxins. I began shooting stills on Rockaway Beach and Bear Mountain with these powders.
I focused on hands at first to play with the concept of a foreign, toxic substance in direct contact with the human body. I went on to take photographs of faces and entire bodies covered in these saturated hues.
I’m still working on finishing and uploading my film online. I want to make it easily accessible to spread awareness about the harm of exposure to nuclear toxins. As I mentioned in my blog post “Maybe Milk Isn’t So Healthy,” scientists think that people who were children during the period of atomic bomb testing (1940s-1960s) are at higher risk for developing thyroid cancer (National Cancer Institute).
This issue extends beyond the 1960s, because nuclear power is still widely used all over the world, and nuclear weapons are being manufactured by powerful governments. Once nuclear energy is created, we are left to deal with the disposal of the waste. There is no proven way of disposing of this waste without eventually harming living organisms. So, if we don’t have a solution to deal with this toxic waste, why are we relying on nuclear energy for our power and nuclear weapons for defense?
Please look out for next blog post, in which I will link my short experimental documentary! I would really appreciate if you shared my film so it can gain some attention before Earth Day on April 22nd!
“Indian Point safely and reliably provides enough power to light about 2 million homes, thousands of businesses, and hundreds of critical transportation, health and municipal systems,” The website for the toxic nuclear power plant boasts. The website is a part of a larger company, Entergy‘s, page. The company is a billion dollar corporation which funnels vast resources into the extraction of electric energy, no matter what the cost. The plant which this particular section of the site discusses is Indian Point, a plant whose leakage of tritium has caused pollution around many groundwater sources in its area, just north of New York City. Despite Governor Cuomo’s statement acknowledging the fact that samples of wells near Indian Point showed an almost 65,000% increase in tritium levels the PR team for Indian Point continues to assure the public that their practice of harnessing nuclear energy is perfectly safe. They even released a video after their shutdown in December 2015 stating that “safety is their priority”.
Because of the recent shutdown of Indian Point and the consequent call for its permanent decommissioning, we believe the plant — which is in close proximity to our native New York City — would make an interesting and very relevant topic for Tucker Pearson and I’s final project. We plan to make a documentary on Indian Point which focuses on:
The plant’s inception and the reason’s for the use of nuclear power.
Indian Point’s December meltdown (why it happened).
The science behind tritium leakage and the danger it poses to us and future generations.
Why it should be shut down.
Our sources will include online articles from both environmental activists and public statements from the company.
Self shot footage/photos of the plant.
An interview with Alfred Meyer, scientist and anti-Indian Point activist.
Interview with environmental activist against Indian Point.
Phone interview with representative from Indian Point. (Hopefully).
Our project is important because through the media of film we will draw attention to the problems of Indian Point and highlight how it directly affects the New York City area. We will raise awareness and hopefully play a role in the movement of getting Indian Point shut down for good before it ends in: