atomictv David Bickerstaff
Artist, filmmaker and creative director of digital media for narrative environments

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Heavy Water Heavy Water Heavy Water  

Heavy Water
A film for Chernobyl

Sky Arts

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Produced by Sevent Art Productions
A film by David Bickerstaff and Phil Grabsky
Poetry by Mario Petrucci

"more an art piece than a documentary but is powerfully imagined" - The Telegraph
"every frame is a stunning photograph in itself" - The Times
"haunting images of the devastation" - Radio Times
"this is powerful stuff" - Critic's Choice, Time Out
"Both an exquisite indictment of tyranny's disregard for technology,
and an articulate elegy for human rights. Magnificent" - The Guardian

Press Comments for Petrucci's book length poem.
“Heartfelt, ambitious and alive”- Jackie Kay, The Daily Telegraph
“Weighty and painful. Powerful material…” - Poetry Review
“Radiates compassion” - The Observer

HD video | 16:9 | 52 min

On April 26th, 1986, reactor four at Chernobyl nuclear power station explodes, sending an enormous radioactive cloud over Northern Ukraine and neighbouring Belarus. The danger is kept a secret from the rest of the world and the nearby population who go about their business as usual. May Day celebrations begin, children play and the residents of Pripyat marvel at the spectacular fire raging at the reactor. After three days, an area the size of England becomes contaminated with radioactive dust, creating a 'zone' of poisoned land.

Based on Mario Petrucci’s award-winning book-length poem (split over two books), 'Heavy Water: a film for Chernobyl', and the shorter version 'Half Life: a Journey to Chernobyl", tells the story of the people who dealt with the disaster at ground-level: the fire-fighters, soldiers, 'liquidators', and their families.

Poetry read by David Bickerstaff, Francine Brody, Juliet Stevenson, David Threlfall and Samuel West.
Heavy Water: a film for Chernobyl is available on DVD from Seventh Art Productions or Amazon.

To buy the book, Heavy Water: a poem for Chernobyl by Mario Petrucci click here To buy its sister volume, Half Life by Mario Petrucci click here

Two versions of the documentay were made - 'Heavy Water: A film for Chernobyl' and a shorter version called 'Half Life: A journey to Chernobyl', (40 minutes), that where shown at different festivals.

Heavy Water screenings
FIFA (Festival International du Film sur L'Art), Montreal, Canada
Yilan Green International Film Festival, Korea
Ourense International Film Festival, Spain - Special Jury Mention
Detroit Docs International Film Festival
Electric Mind Festival, Poznan, Poland
Sky Arts Channel
Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium - Q&A with Tim Marlow
Laznia - Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdansk, Poland

Half Life screenings
10th EthnoFilmfest, Berlin
Rhode Island International Film Festival, USA - WINNER of Best Score
The Brighton Festival, 2007
Documentary Fortnight Extended, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose, California - WINNER of Best Short Documentary
StanZa Poetry Festival, St. Andrews, Scotland
London International Documentary Festival British Museum
2006 Green Film Festival, Seoul
DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver
13th Sheffield International Documentary, UK
IDA Docuweek 2006, Los Angeles
Calgary International Film Festival, Canada
Birmingham Book Festival, UK
51st Cork Film festival, Ireland
StanZa Poetry Festival, St Andrews, Scotland
Port Eliot Book festival
Britdoc 06
Hull Humber Mouth Festival

  Atomictv © David Bickerstaff