Off, Country
Super16mm, in-progress, feature length, b&w

Radiation is invisible and Atomic weaponry was born in secret.  This unseen industry has defined the American Southwest through testing, manufacturing and storage of nuclear armament.  Off, Country examines, through first person accounts and oral histories, the nuclear landscape of the American Southwest.  The fallout and shock-waves of this history can still be felt today and will continue to be present in the landscape for the next 25,000 years.

Trinity Test Site      Worlds Largest Pistachio      Black Hole Way

For the past two years Taylor Dunne and Eric Stewart have
been traveling throughout Colorado and New Mexico, interviewing activists and community members whose lives have been impacted by the nuclear weapons industry. They are producing a feature length experimental documentary and 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.  To date they have driven over 8000 miles, collected over an hour and a half of 16mm film and countless hours of interviews and field recordings.

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 to modernize the U.S.’s nuclear stockpile for the 21st Century, despite lingering environmental contamination left by the legacy of the 20th century.   In the 1940’s New Mexico was chosen as the site for the Manhattan Project and the world’s first atomic weapons test because of it’s remoteness and the Military’s perception that “no one” lived there, despite the Mescalero Indian reservation that was established 7 miles from ground zero a few short years before the test, and hispanic families who had been ranching in the area for generations.  What the military meant by “no one” was that no Anglo Europeans lived in the area, there is a reason New Mexico was chosen and not Kansas.

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 catalogue 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.

Photo Curt Heiner  Photo Eric Stewart Photo Curt Heiner
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