|Directed by||Robert Stone|
|Music by||Gary Lionelli|
|June 12, 2013|
Pandora's Promise is a 2013 documentary film about the nuclear power debate, directed by Robert Stone. Its central argument is that nuclear power, which still faces historical opposition from environmentalists, is a relatively safe and clean energy source which can help mitigate the serious problem of anthropogenic global warming. The title is derived from the ancient Greek myth of Pandora, who released numerous evils into the world, yet as the movie's tagline recalls: "At the bottom of the box she found hope."
The movie features several notable individuals, some of whom were once vehemently opposed to nuclear power but who now speak in favor of it, including Stewart Brand, Gwyneth Cravens, Mark Lynas, Richard Rhodes and Michael Shellenberger.
Richard Branson is credited as an executive producer, as are Paul and Jody Allen, whose production company, Vulcan Productions, helped provide financial support. A total of $1.2 million (US) was raised to finance the film, "particularly through Impact Partners, which provides documentary financing from individual investors. Mr. Stone said the money came mainly from wealthy “tech heads” who have worked in Silicon Valley."
- effects of global warming
- history of the anti-nuclear movement
- history of nuclear weapons
- nuclear and radiation accidents
- nuclear power in France
- nuclear power in the United States
- nuclear reactors
Stock footage and movie clips are used throughout Pandora's Promise to enhance the narrative. Scenes are shown of a No Nukes concert (1979), Margaret Thatcher addressing the United Nations General Assembly (1989), and from the drafting of the Kyoto Protocol (1997). Movie/TV sources include: A Is for Atom (1953), Our Friend the Atom (1957), The China Syndrome (1979), and The Simpsons (1991).
In January 2013 it was shown at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. In March 2013 it was shown at the True/False Film Festival. In June 2013 it won the Sheffield Doc/Fest Green Award for best addressing environmental challenges.
In April 2013, it was announced that CNN Films had obtained the US television rights to Pandora's Promise; it was shown on CNN in the US on November 7, 2013 and seen by 345,000 viewers. It was released on Region 2 DVD in December 2013. A DVD via Alive Mind Cinema was announced for 24 June 2014. It is also available via various digital distribution services.
Reactions to the film have been mixed, if not polarized; e.g.:
- Kennette Benedict from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists states: "Nuclear power may indeed end up being part of the energy mix that leads to both a more stable climate and adequate livelihoods around the world. But the challenges posed by nuclear power – like the risk of weapons proliferation and reactor accidents, and the need to securely store radioactive used fuel for many generations – are not adequately addressed in the film."
- Manohla Dargis wrote a somewhat critical review.
- Friends of the Earth Australia has (among other groups) denounced the movie as "propaganda".
- Owen Gleiberman lauded it as "radically sane".
- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. characterized it as an "elaborate hoax" and a "big lie".
- Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists was critical of various "less-than-half truths".
- Michael Moore discussed the film (among other topics) with director Robert Stone in front of an audience at the Traverse City Film Festival in July 2013.
- John Quiggin comments that Pandora’s Promise presents the environmental rationale for nuclear power, but that reviving nuclear power debates is a distraction, and the main problem with the nuclear option is that it is not economically-viable. Quiggin says that we need more energy efficiency and more renewable energy commercialization.
- David Ropeik found it praiseworthy.
- Christine Todd Whitman described it as "a very important, impactful film that should be seen by as wide an audience as possible."
- Terry Tempest Williams stated "this film’s strength was not that it changed my mind, which it did not, but that it expanded it".
- Eric Zorn noted shortcomings, but hailed it as "the most important movie about the environment since An Inconvenient Truth".
- The Atomic Age – Wikipedia book
- Energy policy in the United States
- List of films about nuclear issues
- List of books about nuclear issues
- List of pro-nuclear environmentalists
- Nuclear engineering
- Nuclear renaissance
- World energy consumption
- The footage of Caldicott (first "UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE" in the CNN rush transcript, linked below) and Wasserman (first "UNIDENTFIED [sic] MALE" in same) was taken at a post-Fukushima rally, some details of which were published in: Abby Luby (13 October 2011). "Anti-Nuke Rallies Urge for Closure of Indian Point" (PDF). Westchester Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2014. In summary, about 300 people attended the protest on 1 October 2011 at Pier 95 in New York City's Hudson River Park, which called for closure of the Indian Point Energy Center. John Hall, Karl Grossman and others spoke as well.
Video recordings of Caldicott's speech from the event have been posted online:
Dr. Helen Caldicott speaks out at No Nuke Rally 2011 against Nuclear Reactors on YouTube.
Closing Indian Point with Dr. Helen Caldicott, October 1, 2011 on YouTube.
Why let dickheads run the world? Congress belong to you. on YouTube. (Also has Wasserman's speech at the end.)
- Margaret Thatcher's "Speech to United Nations General Assembly (Global Environment)". 8 November 1989. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- James Hansen on nuclear power on YouTube (Pandora's Promise's channel)
- Former Greenpeace/UK Executive Director Stephen Tindale on nuclear power and renewable energy on YouTube (Pandora's Promise's channel)
- "Pandora's Promise (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 24 September 2013. ("Domestic Total as of Aug. 8, 2013")
- O’Sullivan, Michael (13 June 2013). "'Pandora's Promise' movie review". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- Raynaldy, Romain (19 Jan 2013). "Pro-nuclear activists get pulpit at Sundance". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
- Pandora's Promise - Q&A at the IFC Center's Stranger Than Fiction Series on YouTube (Pandora's Promise's channel)
- Stone, Robert (20 June 2013). "Orthodox Environmentalists Don't Want You to See My Environmental Film". Slate (magazine). Retrieved 27 September 2013.
- Pandora's Promise: Talks at Google on YouTube (AtGoogleTalks channel)
- Kilday, Gregg (29 May 2013). "Paul Allen Lends Support to Pro-Nuclear Doc 'Pandora's Promise'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- Robert Siegel (3 July 2013). "Film Rankles Environmentalists By Advocating Nuclear Power". NPR. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- Robert Stone [RobertStoneFilm] (26 Aug 2014). "@ConradKnauer @PandorasPromise ha! Yes that's me. Those who claim I manipulated her ranting to make her look crazy should watch this." (Tweet). Retrieved 26 Aug 2014 – via Twitter. When asked if he is visible filming for Pandora's Promise in a YouTube video of the "No Nuke Rally 2011", the director replied: "ha! Yes that's me. Those who claim I manipulated her ranting to make her look crazy should watch this."
- "Virgin’s Richard Branson Defends Nuclear". The Breakthrough Institute. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- Tom Roston (14 June 2013). "A Rebel Filmmaker Tilts Conservative". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
- "Argonne's IFR plays a role in environmentalists' support for nuclear energy". Argonne National Laboratory. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- Revkin, Andrew C. (13 June 2013). "A Film Presses the Climate, Health and Security Case for Nuclear Energy". Dot Earth. The New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Gleiberman, Owen (24 Jan 2013). "Sundance: What makes 'The Way, Way Back' a crowd-pleaser? Plus 'Pandora's Promise,' a radically sane and important documentary about how nuclear power could save us". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Biello, David (4 June 2013). "Pandora's Promise: The Triumph of Hope over Fear in Nuclear Power?". Scientific American. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Transcript from CNN's airing linked in #External links section.
- "Pandora's Promise - Festival Program". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- "Films - True/False Film Fest". True/False Film Festival. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
- "Sheffield Doc/Fest: The Sheffield Green Award". Sheffield Doc/Fest. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "CNN Films Announces Acquisition of 'Pandora's Promise' for Fall 2013 Broadcast". CNN. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- "CNN Films to air PANDORA'S PROMISE Thursday, Nov. 7". CNN. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Dominic Patten (8 November 2013). "CNN Suffers Time Slot Meltdown With Nuke-Themed 'Pandora's Promise' Docu". deadline.com. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "Pandora's Promise [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- Alive Mind Cinema Releases Sundance-selected documentary Pandora's Promise (press release)
- Amazon Video:
- Kennette Benedict (2013-06-10). "Pandora's false promise". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
- "Pandoras [sic] Promise Propaganda". Friends of the Earth Australia. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
- Michael Moore & Robert Stone at The Traverse City Film Festival on YouTube (Pandora's Promise's channel)
- John Quiggin (8 November 2013). "Reviving nuclear power debates is a distraction. We need to use less energy". The Guardian.
- Governor Whitman on Pandora's Promise on YouTube (CASEnergy Coalition's channel)
- Official website
- Official Trailer on YouTube (Pandora's Promise's channel)
- Pandora's Promise at the Internet Movie Database
- CNN Films: Pandora's Promise
- Transcript from CNN's airing
- Pandora's Promise free to watch online (in Australia only), from The Age.
- Robert Stone, Director of "PANDORA'S PROMISE" on YouTube, answering questions about the film at the FCCJ, in 2013.
- The Education of an Environmentalist by Robert Stone, 2016.