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Atomic Mom
A film by M.T. Silvia
2011, 80 minutes, Color/BW, DVD, English/Japanese, English subtitles
Order No. W121056
When M.T. Silvia was little, she thought it was fascinating that her mom Pauline did secret government work. But as she began to understand the ramifications of her mother’s research on the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, a horrified Silvia took action, becoming an anti-nuclear demonstrator. After decades of secrecy, Pauline has become a peace activist and whistleblower, revealing some of the US military’s most closely guarded secrets. Through their extraordinary family history, Silvia examines the legacy of atomic warfare and the range of ethical issues it presents.

Traveling to Japan to meet Hiroshima victims, Silvia learns how the effects of the atrocity have been passed on through generations. Remarkable archival materials help tell the story of the 1950s atomic testing program. Through Pauline herself we learn that she completely adopted the Cold War mentality and never questioned her work—an acquiescence which now plagues her. This is an inspiring film that recounts an important chapter in American history as well as how the Cold War and the creation of the atomic bomb were seen from a woman’s perspective.


Broadcast on the Doc Channel, March 24, 2012



AWARDS, FESTIVALS, & SCREENINGS

  • Mill Valley Film Festival, World Premiere
  • San Francisco Women’s International Film Festival
  • Sarasota Film Festival
  • Accolade Award, Best of Show Documentary
  • Through Women’s Eyes Film Festival
  • Off Plus Camera, Poland

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QUOTES

    "The film's power comes not just from the stories, of the victims of the nuclear age and some of its deeply self-questioning participants, but from the juxtaposition of the Japanese and American experiences of the bomb…"
    Robert Koehler
    The Huffington Post

    "engaging, poignant and informative"
    Pamela Alexander-Beutler
    San Francisco Examiner

    "Filmmaker M. T. Silvia takes the audience on a deeply personal journey and repeatedly exposes her mother’s misappropriated guilt."
    Fiona Lamond
    Vox Magazine

    "…we emerge at the end of the film both as witnesses to a process of healing, and feeling a little more whole ourselves. By accomplishing this, M.T. Silvia has made not a good, but a great film."
    Robert Jacobs
    Asia Pacific Journal

    "Recommended…not just for women’s studies, peace studies, or Cold War studies courses, but also for courses in ethics."
    Educational Media Review On-Line

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    Atomic Mom is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections MUSLIM: Behind the Veil, BODY IMAGE: Women & Young Girls, and AFRICA IS A WOMAN'S NAME.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us