Philippe Carillo is a French Award Winning Documentary Filmmaker who lived in Hollywood for 14 years. His first documentary “Inside the Garbage of the World” released in 2015 and distributed by Journeyman Pictures in UK, won 3 awards. In 2017, he moved to Vanuatu, an archipelago in the south pacific where he made more than 100 short films. Then in 2023, he released his second feature documentary “The Fukushima Disaster – The Hidden Side of the Story” distributed by Journeyman Picture UK. The film is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play and Vimeo on Demand.
Philippe Carillo, can you tell us more about your newly released film “The Fukushima Disaster – The Hidden Side of the Story”?
I made this 52-minute documentary to expose a number of facts that have been censored from the official narrative in Japan after the meltdown of three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. It is also about the potential risks of nuclear energy in general, including the possibility of a nuclear accident, the potential for nuclear weapons proliferation, and the long-term environmental and health impacts of nuclear waste.
Additionally, it looks at the economic costs of nuclear energy, and the potential for renewable energy sources to replace nuclear power. It also exposes the lies of the nuclear industry which found an angle to make us believe nuclear energy will save our climate crisis. But as found in the film, the only reason we still have nuclear plants around the world is to build nuclear bombs.
The film argues that the risks of nuclear energy are too great to ignore, and that we must take action now to reduce our reliance on nuclear power. It calls for an end to subsidies for nuclear energy, and for governments to invest more in renewable energy sources or risk the consequences of many nuclear disasters to come.
What made you make this film?
I just finished my previous film, “Inside the Garbage of the World” after one full year of work, and after getting three awards and a distribution deal with Journeyman Pictures in the UK. I was wondering what next? I was sitting on my vintage yacht in Oxnard, California, where I was living, and I decided to dig into the Fukushima disaster topic.
I had already come across some data from a researcher in Alaska, Chris Pallister from Gulf of Alaska Keeper organization, when I was producing my plastic trash film, who told me the radiation will come from the ocean around 2015, on the cost of the US, Canada and ultimately Alaska as well. That was in 2014.
So, I started to research the topic and came up with the name of a controversial former Japan Time journalist named Yoichi Shimatsu, who was very vocal about the Fukushima cover-up. Then I started to send emails here and there to contact him and he finally responded. He was in Thailand at the time so as I was preparing a film production tour in Asia to interview some native tribes about the ancient secrets of health, I decided to meet him.
I met him first in a public place because he was worried that I could be a CIA asset and would try to kill him. His chief editor was assassinated in Japan not long ago. That’s what he told me after our first meeting. Then when he felt safe, we went to a restaurant where we did the interview. That’s when everything changed for me. That was the start of a strong interest in the topic and my decision to really make a film. I knew it will be a lot of work because the topic has so many elements connected to it. But I made the decision to take on the challenge.
How did you manage to uncover so many hidden facts?
I guess I followed my intuition. I could see and read what has been hidden from the public’s eyes. It was a tremendous amount of data, research, and headache. Nuclear power is not easy to understand. So, then I went to different places and talked to experts, researchers, and whistle blowers who had data that was controversial or let’s say not politically correct.
So I went to Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, Marshall Islands, Japan and the Ukraine and spoke with experts who were there at the time of accidents or bomb tests. For example, I interviewed the chief engineer who was working at Chernobyl during the accident, also the last liquidator still alive, and an old lady in Marshall Island who witnessed the Bravo hydrogen bomb test.
And you know, it was a journey! The data I collected with all these interviews was something that really gave me a clue about the real reason for the existence of nuclear plants. With all this information, I concluded that the only reason we still have these expensive and dirty nuclear power plants is because we need the war grade plutonium waste to build nuclear bombs. That’s the main reason.
Now, it is not a matter of being cheap or anything, that’s a lie that has been perpetrated in the media for years from the nuclear industry. The main reason is because of the National Security of each nation who already has a nuclear arsenal. Now if we don’t abolish nuclear weapons from this planet, we will not get away from nuclear energy. It is that simple. As simple as knowing if a global nuclear war starts on earth, that will be the end of all living creatures on this planet.
What did you find on the way that was very frightening?
The silence of the Japanese people. They have been hit big time with this accident, especially in the Fukushima prefecture, with the tsunami but also with high level radiation. It was a complete mess at the time. Japan was not ready for that. I am sure it reminds some old people about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
One professor from the University of Sydney, John Keane, who is in the film, talked about the Kisha Club System, the secrecy of the media and the embedded journalism inside big companies. It is a cultural thing in Japan. It is important to understand all of that in order to stop the Japanese government from dumping their radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. This is so wrong.
What is also frightening is that there are no solutions to neutralize the radiation coming out of these dangerous nuclear plants. When something goes wrong, it is going to be very very wrong. And TEPCO was not ready for a nuclear accident.
Plus, they did lie to the public. There was no transparency for public scrutiny. And that’s wrong because it is about the life of the Japanese people, as well as our lives in other countries, because the radiation is traveling from the air and the ocean.
And what about the waste the future generations will have to take care of for 250,000 years minimum knowing that a container of nuclear waste has a one hundred year lifetime. Who will take care of that? And how much will it cost? This is insanity. They have to stop.
The animation of the film that explains nuclear radiation was really clear and educative, probably the best we have seen. How did you manage to make it?
Well, I had a hard time myself understanding nuclear radiation, so I had to study and find an easier way to pass it on to the general public. I also contacted my friend Randall Mielke, who is a former NASA nuclear scientist, and he helped me writing the script for the animation. I simplified it again and here we go.
I used templates with an animation software, along with stock footage that was close to what I wanted in the animation and changed things here and there to make it fit the narration. I guess it was good enough because people were saying that they understand now more about how nuclear radiation works and what it does to our bodies.
With Randall, we are in the process of peer-reviewing this part of the film because I know some people with other agendas will come to discredit the data.
You met Dr. Helen Caldicott as well as Arnie Gundersen and his wife Maggie. How was the experience?
I found Helen very impressive with her credentials and experience. She is a Nobel Prize nominee and she has so much information to share. I really wanted to have her in my film because it put the bar high. There is no conspiracy theory here. Everyone is an expert with a lot of insight and experience.
I went to Sydney, Australia to interview her, and what she said in the interview was just aligned to the goal of the film. She is not scared of exposing the nuclear industry. You know, she met President Ronald Reagan back in the day, and was instrumental to the agreement of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons at that time. She is still very vocal and wrote many books about the danger of nuclear radiation. She is a model of what a responsible doctor should be.
I met Maggie and Arnie at a friend’s house. It was just an opportunity of last minute and I took it, and I really don’t regret it. It was worth every word they said. They were very friendly, but the data and insight they gave me was fantastic for the film. Each interview was 45 minutes but very interesting with data, expertise, wisdom, and love. It was also an honor to know them. They are peaceful warriors.
You did the editing yourself and your film flows very well with the music and everything, how did you do that?
Well, it took me some time to finish the film. I was actually stuck at 20 minutes of the editing because I wanted to integrate the history of nuclear power, the Chernobyl accident, Marshall Islands Bomb Tests, the Manhattan Project, Hiroshima and Nagasaki and it was a humongous amount of work.
Then I moved to Vanuatu in 2017, an archipelago in the South Pacific. I moved for several reasons, and one of them was that I didn’t feel safe anymore as a filmmaker exposing this kind of stuff, and living in the US because many government agencies are involved. It was also about natural living, being closer to nature.So I had to restart my life pretty much from zero and it took me some time.
I created a film production company and have done more than 100 short films here since. Then the news came up that the Japanese government and TEPCO were planning to dump the radioactive wastewater into the ocean. It was a wake-up call for me. I then came back to my film and decided to focus only on Fukushima and the nuclear industry lies in general, the understanding of nuclear radiation and the damages it does to all living things, the health effect on the Japanese people, the cover-up and the reason why we still have expensive and dirty nuclear plants around the world.
I did include a part with one of the solutions and an emotional note at the end with Maggie Gundersen and a quote from JFK at the UN speech in 1961.
I think the film is emotional. It touches people right in the heart, and it also makes others angry because it unveils the true face of the nuclear industry and the damage they create on the human race.
So, to come back on the editing, I like to do it myself because then I get exactly what I want. Plus, this is a creative process and ideas are flowing as I am doing the editing. I think that part is really where the magic happens. This is where you can make a film really interesting and that’s why it is crucial to do it right.
In doing the film, did you cross over some information to remove radiation from our bodies or to heal people with radiation sickness?
Well, I was irradiated myself when I went to Chernobyl. I was filming there inside the Unit 3 of the nuclear power plant, and at some point, we found a spot with a high level of radiation. I have it on film. Unfortunately, after the shoot, I didn’t feel good.
So, I talked to my doctor, Robert Dursi, in Los Angeles and after doing some analysis, he told me that I had been irradiated with iodine 129. I did follow a natural treatment to remove heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from my body and it worked well. That product was developed after Chernobyl actually. It is called Modifilan.
I did film an interview with him talking about the way to do it. It is on the film website (www.exposurefilmstrust.com). I could not put it in the film because I know the FDA could give me a problem with that. Not because it doesn’t work, but because it works well. What amazed me, doing the production of the film is that the Dept. of Health is not even involved into finding a solution to nuclear radiation.
In fact, the only dept involved into following, checking and monitoring people’s radiation levels is the Dept. of Energy. This is what I found in Majuro – Marshall Islands. The Dept of Energy is still monitoring the locals who have been in contact with a high level of radiation after all the bomb tests there.
What were the lies of the nuclear industry?
I think there is a lot of information that is voluntarily confusing regarding nuclear power and nuclear radiation. The measurement for example has been made in a way that is complicated for regular people to understand because there is different kind of measurement for radiation, and no one has really explained how radiation is working on killing life in a simple way that everyone can understand.
The Marvel novels make people believe that after being in contact with high level of nuclear radiation, you will develop mutations and become a superhero. This is just a myth; it is not true. There is no life possible in the presence of high level radiation. The industry can argue on that, but this is a fact. In reality, if we have a nuclear war in the world right now, it will be the end of the human race and many living forms on this planet.
The basic lie of the industry is that we need nuclear plants to create clean electricity, too cheap to meter. This is a complete lie. Nuclear energy is really expensive, if you include the uranium mining, and also the management of the waste. We will have to take care of the waste for 250,000 years minimum. How much will that cost? So, it doesn’t make any sense when you understand the whole process of nuclear energy.
Another lie is that a nuclear plant never leaks. There is already peer-reviewed research on the subject from Germany that says otherwise. People get sick around every nuclear plant. That is a proven fact. Maggie Gundersen, former spokesperson from the nuclear industry says it all in the film. It is amazing how much the industry tries to cover-up. They have a lot of money and a part of it is used to hide the truth via their PR firms and discredit scientists who expose them.
What were the lies of the Japanese Government? Or TEPCO?
Just after the accident, I think it was a big shock for TEPCO and the Japanese government, because they were not ready for that at all. They didn’t have a system in place to handle that, in terms of communications and logistics. Plus, they had been hit by a tsunami just before that. So, the whole country was just under a high stress level.
The former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who is speaking in the film said that TEPCO and his own regulators were lying to him. There was no accurate and timely data on what was really going on at this specific time. The CEO of TEPCO locked himself inside his office for a long time with no communication whatsoever. It was unreal. What was really going on?
A lot of secrecy and cover-up occurred during that time. Unfortunately, the radiation level was going very high at the Fukushima prefecture near the plant and people were re-located to the wrong places because of the lack of communication, news report and information. It was just a mess. There were many big mistakes made at that time and, in that regard, as Naoto Kan says in the film, it was a man-made disaster.
I think the Japanese government wanted to keep controlling the narrative during that time to avoid panic in Tokyo. Naoto Kan was ready to sign the evacuation order for Tokyo, so it was a real big deal. How could they evacuate 50 million people in a short amount of time? It would have been chaos.
Then another lie was that there was a leak of radioactive water into the ground water and going into the ocean. TEPCO and the government denied that fact until 2014. They finally admitted it. And now we are seeing that they are very reluctant to get help from international communities to help them handle the problem. Why? What are they trying to hide?
And now they want to dump the radioactive wastewater into the ocean saying that it has been filtered and it is clean. How can we trust them? Why don’t they want foreign scientists to come and do an independent report? That is a red flag. The Pacific Island nations are really concerned about it, as well as South Korea.
There is a part of the film talking about this issue with Honorable Andrew Napuat, Member of Parliament of Vanuatu. “We cannot let them jeopardize our sustenance and our livelihood.” he said. But the Japanese government still intends to continue with their plan. And that is very bad for the PR of Japan. There is also a lot of protest in Tokyo and other parts of the country with the Japanese people asking TEPCO to stop that. But their government is not listening. Why?
What result are you expecting the film to create?
The film is a call for action. But primarily it is a wake-up call by understanding what is really going on. Then when people understand, some will stand up and do something about it. We need to expose the lies to protect our future. As a human race, we have opened a Pandora ’s Box and we don’t know how to close it.
It started with the Manhattan Project, and it may end with an unlivable planet because of a high level of radiation. We don’t want that. We need to protect what we have. We need to expose the people who brought us to this point of potential no return. We need to stop them. For our life, and the life of our kids and future generations.
DR. Helen Caldicott – Nobel Prize Nominee
Arnie Gundersen – Nuclear Engineer
Yoichi Shimatsu – Former Japan Time Journalist
Dr. Dan Harper – Nuclear Radiation expertise
Maggie Gundersen – Former Spokesperson for the nuclear industry
Randall Mielke – Former NASA Nuclear Scientist
Prof. John Keane – University of Sydney
Yumi Kikuchi – The kids of Fukushima
Andrew Napuat – Member of Vanuatu Parliament
Paul Kratka – Narration
Apple TV: https://tv.apple.com/us/movie/the-fukushima-disaster/umc.cmc.3rfome5kj2hfpo2q9fwx5u0y0
Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/placeholder_title/dp/B0B8TLPZ9K/ref=sr_1_1
Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/Fukushima-Disaster-Yoichi-Shimatsu/dp/B0B8TLSRN4/ref=sr_1_2
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/movies/details?id=vehqb5ex-L8.P&sticky_source_country=US&gl=US&hl=en&pli=1
Video on demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thefukushimadisaster