NH #665: SPECIAL: Int’l Uranium Film Festival Launches in Navajo Nation – Mining, Radiation & Nuclear Lies + Powerful Indigenous Pushback

SPECIAL: Navajo Nation Hosts Launch of Int’l Uranium Film Festival’s N. American Tour

Sometimes a film festival is about more than just the films. The International Uranium Film Festival (IUFF) kicked off its 2024 North American tour in Window Rock, Navajo Nation, with not only powerful films but an informational and emotional space where Navajo activists could find each other, network, and strengthen their battle for health, safety & compensation.

Red Carpet Meeting of the Anti-Nuclear Minds! (l-r) IUFF co-founder Marcîa Gomes de Oliviera, Anna Rondon, Kathleen Tsosie, Petuche Gilbert, Domacio Lopez, Mervyn Tilden, Libbe HaLevy

The films shown were:

  • TRANSMUTATIONS: VISUALIZING MATTER – USA/Canada, 2021, Director Jesse Andrewartha,
  • TALE OF A TOXIC NATION – USA, 2018, Director Louis Berry, Documentary, English, 13 min
  • DEMON MINERAL – USA, 2022, Director: Hadley Austin – life in the radioactive desert of the Navajo Reservation in the American Southwest.
  • SILENT FALLOUT – USA/Japan, 2023, Director and Producer Hideaki Ito
  • VALLEY OF THE GODS – Poland/Italy/Luxemburg/USA, 2019, Director Lech Majewski
  • JADUGODA – THE LAND OF MAGIC – India, 2023, Director Satish Munda
  • SOLAR NANOFILTRATION – USA, 2023, Director: Deidra Peaches
  • NUKED – Canada, 2023, Director, writer and roducer: Andrew Nisker
  • DOWNWIND – USA, 2023, Directed by Mark Shapiro and Douglas Brian Miller.

IUFF Lifetime Achievement Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award winners Anna Rondon (l) and Claus Biegert, holding their awards.

  • Claus Biegert – He is a writer, filmmaker and journalist who attended the Festival from Germany. Claus helped create some of our most important anti-nuclear institutions. He initiated the World Uranium Hearing in in 1992 in Salzburg, Austria, which led in 1998 to the creation of the Nuclear-Free Future Award (NFFA). Among his many films is OF THE SENSE OF THE WHOLE: THE NETWORK OF PHYSICIST HANS-PETER DÜRR, shown at this year’s Window Rock festival.
  • Anna RondonAnna Rondon (Diné) is Kinya’aa’aanii Clan, born for Nakai Dineh) is a lifelong advocate for the rights of Indigenous people and, in particular, members of the Navajo Nation who have suffered as a result of uranium minining and its deadly legacy. She is the Executive Director of the New Mexico Social Justice and Equity Institute, which works to end the health disparities resulting from decades of environmental degradation by the uranium mining industry, institutional racism directed at Indigenous communities, and multi-generational trauma. For the past 50 years, Anna has worked alongside many influential Indigenous leaders and her own spiritual advisors, which has deeply rooted her and educated her in how to navigate movement building at the various levels of organizing for change and justice.

The IUFF is traveling for two months through the US and into Canada to present films in 13 cities, each set of films curated to the issues, concerns, and needs of that community. The Festival provided not only films, but served as a lightning rod to attract activist groups and services, a community in-gathering for those working on and concerned about uranium mining and its attendant issues. At Window Rock, in the beautiful Navajo Nation Museum auditorium, activists, concerned citizens, film lovers and the curious gather to learn more about all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, from the deadly impact of uranium mining through weapons, radioactive waste, downwinder issues, RECA, and more. The Festival provided opportunities for networking and planning, as well as the support that came from the wonderful films.

Photo Gallery from IUFF in Window Rock:

IUFF Director Norbert Suchanek doesn’t take a break, not even at breakfast.

IUFF WR 2024 Bobby Leonard Mason

Blurry but historic: Norman Patrick Brown, 19 years old, addressing a 1979 anti-nuclear rally in DC. Just look at the size of that crowd…

Norman Patrick Brown at IUFF Window Rock, 2024

Networking in the lobby of the Navajo Nation Museum:
(l-r) journalist Mervyn Tilden, Damacio Lopez, Paul Griego.