We Are All Radioactive: Chapter 1

A crowd-funded documentary series tells the story of a group of surfers in Japan as they rebuild in the wake of the 2011 disaster.

We Are All Radioactive, a crowd-funded documentary series, tells the story of a group of surfers in Japan as they rebuild in the wake of the 2011 disaster.  Lisa Katayama, a journalist for Wired, Fast Company, and The New York Times, and Jason Wishnow, a filmmaker and director of the TEDTalks series, shot the documentary over the summer last year, focusing on a diverse group of locals, surfers, and activists in the seaside community of Motoyoshi. When the filmmakers finished shooting, they asked their subjects to contribute their own stories, equipping them with waterproof cameras and incorporating their footage into the series. 

In this first episode, Autumn Ness, an American expat and surfer, describes the close-knit community in Motoyoshi and why she returned to help the recovery effort a month after the disaster. The seaside town is only 100 miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant and suffered catastrophic damage from the earthquake and tsunami. Now, it's unclear how much nuclear contamination will affect the area. 

The filmmakers are funding the series episode by episode via the crowd-funding platform IndieGoGo. Distribution is powered by viewers; each episode will be released if (and only if) it's fully funded. To make a contribution, visit the IndieGoGo page for We Are All Radioactive. In an interview with the Atlantic Video channel, Katayama explains, "We want to remind the world that a magnitude 9.0 earthquake isn't just "breaking news" with big numbers of casualties. Beyond all that, there are these real human stories, the resilience of people who are living with this every day. That's the story that we want to continue to tell." 



Watch the trailer for the series above, and visit the website for We Are All Radioactive for more information about the series and the issue, including background on the characters and the history of nuclear energy in Japan.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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