Tag Archives: film festivals

Review: Children of Armageddon

Children of Armageddon:  Or how I learned to hate the bomb again!

By Roger Landes

One of the most difficult aspects of making a good political documentary is finding a subject matter interesting enough in order to not only captivate an audience, but also to persuade them to believe in the position taken by the film. In other words, it better make people care.  And at first glance, Children of Armageddon is in a very difficult position.

coaPeople seem to have made their choices for what are the most important issues in the contemporary world, and activism in anything else seems to be trite.  Global warming, the war in the Middle East, health care, and genocide in Darfur take up the upper hierarchy of pertinence, and everything else is considered to be of a lesser need.  These issues are clearly the most crucial problems in our world today.

Children of Armageddon digs up an argument that has been stewing for over half a century.  The so-called “nuclear issue” has been pushed to the back burner to make room for the aforementioned other causes.  Children of Armageddon brings the conversation back to pertinence by raising the question: “Who are the real victims of nuclear war?”  It begins showing us the obvious answer.  The Hibakusha, survivors of the Atomic Bomb droppings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, fight to keep their tragedy relevant in a Japanese culture that is trying to forget their own history due to their reliance on America’s nuclear deterrence umbrella.  Maki, a third generation Hibakusha, works to bring the fear of nuclear weaponry back into the youth of Hiroshima to raise awareness.  She is faced with a resistant populous who would simply rather forget than accept a tremendous situation.

The effects of nuclear warfare effect areas outside of Japan as well.  The U.S., France, and Great Britain have been testing nuclear warheads for decades.  The test detonations for these warheads contaminate the land and cause horrible side effects to the surrounding peoples.  The Marshall Islands, an American colony located between Hawaii and Guam, was host to nuclear tests for American bombs in the 1950s.  In 1954, a bomb was detonated to close to the coast of Rongelap, a village near the coast.  The entire town was contaminated with radioactive powder.  This caused gene mutations in the women of Rongelap.  These mutations have caused massive amounts of miscarriages and infant deformities.  The mutations have transgenetic effects, so even 55 years after the testing, young women are still being affected by the bombings.

These lingering effects can be seen in other parts of the world.  France did its nuclear testing in French Polynesia, but claimed there would be no repercussions because it was done underground. What they failed to realize is the movement of the radioactive materials through the soil into the water and soil.  Due to this, French Polynesia has an incredibly high rate of leukemia, as well as thyroid and kidney cancer.  Maurea, a young Tahitian woman, fights to end nuclear testing in order to raise her family in a healthy atmosphere.  In the 1995, French President Jacques Chirac ignored protests by locals like Maurea as well as environmental groups and claimed that he would resume the nuclear testing at French Polynesia.  He was met with such an opposition from the people that he almost immediately recanted his comments and disposed of a massive amount of nuclear warheads.

Children of Armageddon attempts to tackle an incredibly complex and difficult topic.  Nations like the U.S. and France claim that their nuclear arsenal is a deterrent against other nations to use their weapons against them.  The film states that even this is an inappropriate use of their power.  The mere existence of a single nuclear warhead is too dangerous to the survival of the human species.  Even its use as a deterrent is merely one country threatening all others.  The films most interesting contribution is from the issues oldest and loudest opposition, Noam Chomsky.  He states that at the very essence of the nuclear issue is that it is “the only threat to the species that can be immediately solved.”  The message of Children of Armageddon is very much idealistic, but it is exactly what is needed in order to wake the public up to the importance of the topic.

Children of Armageddon is screening Tuesday September 22 at 7.30 PM at the Drexel. Admission is free, donations accepted.



My Columbus Film Beat: John Whitney

Today we bring you another installment of My Columbus Film Beat wherein area film types introduce themselves.

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John Whitney

Born in Texas, John moved to Dayton, Ohio, in the late 60’s when his father obtained a job as a reporter at CBS affiliate, WHIO.  Growing up around television production, it was only natural that John would follow that path.  After attending the Ohio State University where he studied film, he started to freelance in the Columbus market where he began as a PA and worked his way through the ranks to an Avid editor and a Director/DP. During that period of apprenticeship, John worked on over 400 television commercials and a number of independent feature films. Currently John is working for American Signature Inc. where he is a staff AVID editor and DP.

As an independent filmmaker, John has been at the helm of music videos as well as short films including “Solve for X,” which was nominated for best drama at the 2001 Ohio Independent Film Festival in Cleveland. It also won for best short subject at the 2005 Nebula Film Festival.  “A Passion for Filmmaking” was the winner of the 2004 Sixty Second film competition. This film also appeared on the Independent Film Channel’s original series, Media Lab. It also is available as pre-loaded video content in all Microsoft Zunes. “Horrors of War,” won a Chris Award at the 2006 Columbus International Film Festival. “Horrors of War” is currently available on home video worldwide and in current release in North America by Maverick Entertainment..

His current project, “Measured Sacrifice,” is set in a dystopian future America. This low-tech science fiction/drama follows the story of Terry, a young woman in trouble. As the war on terror rages and with the public’s distaste for the draft, the Government enlists all women in their child baring years to volunteer for “The Program”. Pregnant and unemployed, Terry stands at a crossroads. She struggles between honoring her mother and the memory of her father, who died 20 years earlier serving in Iraq, or to do what she thinks is right for the country.  “Measured Sacrifice” is currently making the festival rounds.

John lives with his wife, Jen and son, Kirk in Columbus, Ohio.

Mid-Ohio-Con Film Fest this weekend!

From J. Michael Lewis of Tempered Zealot Productions:

“We’re pleased to release the screening schedule for the first annual Mid-Ohio-Con Indie Film Festival (MOC-IFF), which will be held in conjunction with Mid-Ohio-Con 2008. This year’s slate of films submitted to the MOC-IFF include fantastic new work from film makers spanning the genres of action/adventure, animation, comedy, fantasy, horror/suspense, and sci-fi. In addition to the films in contention for awards at the MOC-IFF, we will be screening new movie trailers courtesy of Trailer Park as well as a number of recent fan favorites during the weekend.”

Films will be screen Saturday Oct. 4th from 10:30 AM thru 3:45 PM. And on Sunday, Oct. 5th from 10:30 AM thru 3:00 PM. For the complete line-up, location, and other MOC events, visit: www.midohiocon.com