How Did I Get Here and Why I am Staying
I ask this question, quietly in my head, a lot. How did a marketing and PR professional from the Northwestern Panhandle of Florida end up in Denver, Colorado as an Executive Producer and co-writer on a documentary film project about nuclear workers, veterans and victims?
The answer to the first half of that question would take a lot of time to explain.
Then I realized, it really isn’t about “how did I get here” but more importantly – the second part: “Why I Am Staying” that is truly important.
When we decided to make this film and do our level best to tell the truth without bias and without political leanings, the information we knew was statistical, historical, undisputed facts. Facts are emotionless things, they are simply what they are, like some mathematical equation that can’t be denied. As the research edged closer and closer to completion, we began to reach out to the people who we would want to interview so that we could put human faces and stories to these facts.
Now, please keep in mind, these “facts” I’m speaking of set my blood to boil in anger. The history that I have learned has made me question my belief in government (and that delves so much deeper than political positioning.) These “facts,” in and of themselves, are what set us on the course of making this film in the first place.
This business of making a documentary film is not for the faint of heart. And it’s not like they teach you in a classroom either. I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time and effort begging for money to do any project and be no further along than we are. Hell, we haven’t raised enough yet to get a full days worth of interviews on film. But this is not about the struggles to raise money. Not really. Granted, whether or not we ever get to share with others what’s at the heart of this film depends solely on our ability to raise funds. But money can never change what has happened and will never change the “Why I Am Staying” part of this little story.
So, okay, “why I am staying” is this: the people we have met.
People like Laura Schultz, Judy Padilla, Terrie Barrie (though we’ve only met via email to date), Jerry Harden, and more. These folks worked at Rocky Flats, the former nuclear weapons plant that was located just a few miles from Denver. And there are others… with the nuclear lab in Idaho, the uranium miners in New Mexico, the workers’ advocates (Stephanie and Candace have become trusted friends).
These people are the answer to “Why I Am Staying” as well as to the unasked question of “why I will keep begging for money to get this film made.”
John, my better half and lead writer/researcher on this little project of ours (and son of an Atomic Veteran), sent me a link today in the office we share in our Denver suburban home. It links to the archives of a respected Denver magazine called 5280 (for the area’s altitude). The article is called “Out in the Cold” by the magazine’s Editor At Large Mike Kessler and was published in 2007. This gut-wrenching, well-penned piece of journalism actually features one of the folks I mentioned earlier (Judy Padilla) and tells the stories of so many more we have come to know from Rocky Flats.
This article illustrates why I will keep pushing to get American Massacre made. I will keep pushing until I am no longer breathing because this movie is about Americans who did their duty, some in uniform and some civilian, and who have had their faith and trust and lives betrayed by an industry and by our government. They did their duty. This film… telling their stories in hope to correct the wrongs or at least shed a brighter light on the problem… that’s our duty. It’s a duty I am proud to fulfill.
Read “Out in the Cold”: http://archive.5280.com/issues/2007/0711/feature.php?pageID=900
If after you read this, you feel compelled to help us fund this film, please visit our funding page. This film is fiscally sponsored by IFP.org and all contributions are tax deductible. ANY amount is appreciated and will be used specifically to tell this story of unsung American patriotism and deadly betrayal. DONATE NOW
Lisa K. Wildman