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Exclusive: Clip from Irene Lusztig's 'Richland'

By IDA Editorial Staff

Still from 'Richland' depicting a statue of a family walking proudly in front of two columns of American flags, which border a series of manicured lawns. Photo credit: Helki Frantzen

Documentary is happy to debut an exclusive clip from Irene Lusztig's Richland ahead of its premiere in the Documentary Competition at Tribeca 2023 this weekend. This scene is filmed during the 75th anniversary of the Hanford Site, which the New York Times affirmed "is the largest and most contaminated" of all former nuclear weapons production sites in a feature article from last week. As part of the weekslong celebration, the nearby city of Richland, Washington, restaged Atomic Frontier Day, an annual nuclear pride parade event held from the 1940s through 1960 that included a parade, military plane flyover, uplifting speeches about the nuclear bomb, kids' crafting stations, and more. 

Commenting on the clip, Lusztig explained, "I chatted with this couple relaxing by the river towards the end of Atomic Frontier Day, and they reflect a way of thinking about Hanford that I found across many interactions—speculating about or recognizing structural harm, like environmental damage or illness while insisting on the safety and beauty of the place where they’ve chosen to build their lives."

"I was less interested in the question of whether something is wrong with the local fish (who swim in the Columbia river, where billions of tons of radioactive effluent were dumped during early Hanford production years), and more interested in what it feels like to know something but not want to think too deeply about it—a theme that runs through the whole film. While the larger film moves into much more complex and intimate interactions with community members and presents a wide range of different ways of thinking about Hanford’s impacts, this early moment in the film is a great introduction to a very typical Richland encounter."

Documentary featured Richland in our Tribeca 2023 preview of our most anticipated documentaries. After Tribeca, Richland's international premiere is the following week in the International Competition at Sheffield DocFest.