Editor's Note: Here at NEI, we're keeping a close eye on Pandora's Promise, a documentary film about how many prominent environmentalists have changed their minds about nuclear energy because of concerns about climate change. To see the least, I'm looking forward to seeing the film, but haven't had the opportunity to do so as of yet.
As we near the official premiere in New York on June 12, I'll be collecting all of the online coverage about the film in this space. Every time I make a major update to the content below, I'll bump this post back to the top of the blog. When I finally see the film myself, I'll write a review of my own that I'll link to below. As always, our readers are an important part of this conversation, so please don't hesitate to send us links and suggestions as to how we might improve our coverage of the film.
In this guide you will find:
- Official Trailer
- Where to See Pandora's Promise
- Bios of Film's Principals
- Reviews and Other Coverage
- Social Media
Impact Partners and CNN Films present PANDORA’S PROMISE, the groundbreaking new film by Academy-Award®-nominated director Robert Stone. The atomic bomb and meltdowns like Fukushima have made nuclear power synonymous with global disaster. But what if we’ve got nuclear power wrong? An audience favorite at the Sundance Film Festival, PANDORA’S PROMISE asks whether the one technology we fear most could save our planet from a climate catastrophe, while providing the energy needed to lift billions of people in the developing world out of poverty.Official Trailer:
Where to See Pandora's Promise:
The film opens in New York City on June 12 at Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Two days later, on June 14, the film will open in an additional 16 cities nationwide (Atlanta, Berkeley, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Irvine, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, DC) with another five cities being added on June 21 (Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Portland, Scottsdale). Tickets should also be available online through Fandango and MovieTickets.com. Consult the film's web site for a complete list of theaters. On April 30, 2013, CNN Films announced that it had acquired cable television broadcast rights to the film and intended to air it sometime in November 2013.
Robert Stone, Director:
Robert Stone is a multi-award-winning, Oscar-nominated and Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker. Born in England in 1958, he grew up in both Europe and America. After graduating with a degree in history from the University of Wisconsin/Madison, he moved to New York City in 1983 determined to pursue a career in filmmaking. He gained considerable recognition for his first film, “RADIO BIKINI” (1987) which premiered at Sundance and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. Multi-tasking as a producer, director, writer, editor and cameraman, he has over the last 25 years developed a steady international reputation with a range of unique and critically acclaimed feature-documentaries about American history, pop-culture, the mass media and the environment.Michael Shellenberger, The Breakthrough Institute:
Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger are leading global thinkers on energy, climate, security, human development, and politics. Their 2007 book Break Through was called "prescient" by Time and "the best thing to happen to environmentalism since Rachel Carson's Silent Spring" by Wired. (An excerpt in The New Republic can be read here.) Their 2004 essay, "The Death of Environmentalism," was featured on the front page of the Sunday New York Times, sparked a national debate, and inspired a generation of young environmentalists ...Stewart Brand, Editor, The Whole Earth Catalog and Co-Chair and President of The Long Now Foundation:
Stewart Brand is co-founder and president of The Long Now Foundation and co-founder of Global Business Network. He created and edited the Whole Earth Catalog (National Book Award), and co-founded the Hackers Conference and The WELL. His books include The Clock of the Long Now; How Buildings Learn; and The Media Lab. His most recent book, titled Whole Earth Discipline, is published by Viking in the US and Atlantic in the UK. He graduated in Biology from Stanford and served as an Infantry officer.Richard Rhodes, Author, The Making of the Atomic Bomb:
RICHARD RHODES is the author or editor of twenty-four books including The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which won a Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction, a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award ...Gwyneth Cravens, Author, The Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy:
[H]as contributed articles and op-eds on science and other topics to Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. She has published five novels. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, where she also worked as a fiction editor, and in Harper’s Magazine, where she was an associate editor. She grew up in New Mexico and now lives on eastern Long Island.Mark Lynas, Environmentalist and Climate Change Activist (also writing a companion book to the film):
[A] frequent speaker around the world on climate change science and policy, focusing in particular on how carbon neutral targets can break the international logjam on climate mitigation, and how emissions reduction should be seen as an opportunity not a sacrifice. He is also a Visiting Research Associate at Oxford University’s School of Geography and the Environment.Reviews and Other Coverage:
Tim Wu, Slate:
A good, politically charged documentary often seizes on what the audience already believes and throws fuel on the fire (see, e.g., the work of Michael Moore). A better such documentary tries to convince its audience that what it takes for granted is flat-out wrong. Pandora’s Promise, which premiered at Sundance, does just that. It makes the utterly convincing case that anyone who considers themselves an environmentalist or takes climate change seriously should favor more nuclear power.Kate Briemann, Rolling Stone:
After sifting through the anti-nuclear choruses and the considerably smaller pro-nuclear groups in an attempt to find the truth about the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy, Stone found his answer with Michael Shellberger, the president and co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute: "We can have a world living modern lives without killing the climate."John Anderson, Variety:
Can one be committed to the environment, and still be against nuclear power? Most issue docs are propaganda, and Robert Stone’s latest is a formidable sales pitch for nukes, yet the film’s points are well reasoned and urgent, and should attract viewers who have been drawn to the director’s earlier work(such as “Earth Days,” a history of the environmentalist movement).Maxine Segarnick, Poughkeepsie Journal:
The film strives to debunk several nuclear myths, such as the reportedly high radiation level and death toll caused by the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Environmental activists continue to use Chernobyl as an example of the potential danger of nuclear development. However, the film shows a radioactivity monitor at Chernobyl, as well as at other sites in America and Europe, and demonstrates that the level of radioactivity in Chernobyl in 2012 is nearly identical to that of Central Park in New York City.Natalie Rooney, VoxTalk:
In a world where most people think nuclear plants are dangerous, Pandora’s Promise challenges viewers to see the benefits of nuclear energy. Despite this daunting challenge, the most admirable aspect of Pandora’s Promise is director Robert Stone’s commitment to presenting both sides of the nuclear energy argument.Joe Bendel, Libertas:
Stone made his name with the anti-nuclear doc Radio Bikini and would further burnish his green credentials with Earth Days. Very concerned about global warming, Stone could no longer accept the environmental movement’s unrealistic claims about solar and wind power. As his primary POV experts argue, any power plan with a significant wind or solar component will by necessity be heavily dependent on big, dirty fossil fuel plants as a back-up. The simple truth is that the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow, but coal burns 24-7.Stephanie Novak:
Pandora’s Promise has the immensely difficult task of changing people’s mindsets about nuclear energy—a task that became extraordinarily more difficult after the nuclear explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. Knowing that the film was in favor of nuclear energy, I was surprised that during the beginning of the documentary, arguments against nuclear energy were explained—I almost thought that I was wrong and that the film might be anti-nuclear energy. But in my opinion, this was one of the strongest points of the film. I thought that by clearly laying out reasons why people would be against nuclear energy ultimately made the film’s pro-nuclear stance stronger, as I understood arguments on both sides of the debate by the time the film finished.Videos:
Q&A at the IFC Center's Stranger Than Fiction Series (click here for additional interview):
Interview With Ondi Timoner of Bring Your Own Doc:
Robert Stone Interview with GenConnect:
BMI Sundance Composer/Director Roundtable:
Robert Stone and Mark Lynas Interviewed by Tara Hunnewell:
Mark Lynas Interview with Hedgerly Wood Trust:
Follow Pandora's Promise on Twitter and Facebook. Folks on Twitter seem to be using #PandorasPromise to organize conversations around the film. You can also subscribe to the film's YouTube Channel. If you've seen the film already, consider posting your review at the Internet Movie Database. In response to critiques of the film by anti-nuclear activists, Nick Touran, a recent Ph.D. graduate of the nuclear engineering program at the University of Michigan published a defense of the film.