After submitting to festivals worldwide for clients for over 8 years, we are forever discovering new festivals popping up. There are festivals for every type of genre, length, format, issue, and more. It’s something we always consider when putting together strategies for each new project. Today we shine a light on a festival which has a very particular niche. We have Norbert G.Suchanek on our blog today, the Festival Director of the International Uranium Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro. Submissions for the festival are open now for 2015’s edition.  


Tell us a bit about your job, and what you do…

To be responsible for the worlds most well-know film festival about nuclear power is a big task. The challenge of the International Uranium Film Festival is to provide the independent nuclear filmmakers and their films a growing international platform. That is a 24 hours per day job. You have the main festival, once a year in May/June in Rio de Janeiro, and then we have the traveling Uranium Film Festivals in different cities and countries. At the moment we are planning a travelling uranium film festival in Berlin, Sept 29 to Oct. 3.  

The Uranium Film Festival is very niche but important with its themes, how did the festival come to exist?

The niche is in fact a huge niche. Nuclear power starts with uranium mining and ends with nuclear waste. Between these poles we have Atomic Bombs, Nuclear science & medicine, Nuclear Accidents, Radioactive contaminations, the use of new uranium weapons. We have Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Nuclear power in fact is an issue that tackles politics, economy and science. And in fact all people and peoples on our planet are involved since the first drop of an atomic bomb – either as Tax payer or as victim of radioactive contamination.  

This will be the fourth year the festival has happened, how has it grown and what’s next?

It has grown from year to year since its start in Santa Teresa, an artist quarter on a hill in the centre of Rio de Janeiro. From here we already brought the festival to the capitals Lisbon, Berlin, New Delhi, Washington DC, Window Rock and to the famous and important cities like Munich, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Santa Fe, New York or São Paulo. During the first six months this year the festival’s website had more than 1 Million visitors, about 6000 visitors per day. The next step is always the next festival. September, October in Berlin and in December we bring the festival to Amman, the capital of Jordan.  

What are you looking for in the films that filmmakers submit?

The festival especially wants to stimulate new productions, not only documentaries but also movies, animations, comedies about nuclear power and the dangers of radioactivity. Everybody should be aware off. We have to use all film genres to bring the information out. One of the best films ever about nuclear power was the 1979 produced movie “The China Syndrome” with Michael Douglas, a film about the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. Now we have Fukushima. And I am waiting for “The China Syndrome II”.  

What’s your advice to someone who gets a rejection from a festival?

Try it again next year!  

Tell us the best and worst part of your job…

The best part is seeing and meeting happy filmmakers, that were selected for the festival. And especially seeing them being proud to be part of the International Uranium Film Festival. The worst part of the job is, that it does not end. There is no break. The show must go on.  

Share with us one of your favourite films and tell us why you like it…

Your question is difficult to answer, because I have a list with lots of my favourite films. But let me talk about a very unique film that I like very much and that received on of our first Yellow Oscar Awards: The Short movie “Fikapaus” with the English name “Coffee Break”. It’s a Swedish Comedy Thriller, in fact it’s the first ever made thriller or comedy with the Chernobyl accident as its theme. Coffee Break, directed by young Swedish filmmaker Marko Kattilakoski, is a well done little film full of very dark humour, that – I must confess – probably not everybody understands. What is very interesting is that this thriller-comedy provides us with shocking details about the Chernobyl accident without showing it.

Thanks to Norbert for taking the time to speak to Festival Formula. Submissions info for the International Uranium Film Festival can be found here as well as their upcoming events.  

Norbert’s biography:

Born in 1963 in Germany, Norberte has been a journalist, author and photographer since 1988 focusing on environmental and human rights issues. From 2006 he started making films in Brazil and in 2010, together with social scientist and filmmaker Marcia Gomes de Oliveira, he created the International Uranium Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro.

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