Film producer Tony West visited Portsmouth 8 Cinemas Wednesday to share his award-winning documentary film, ‘The Safe Side of the Fence.’
Tammi McGuire, a manager of Portsmouth 8 Cinemas, said they were glad provide West with the opportunity to share his film.
“He contacted us, and reached out to us and told us he would like to rent out one of our theaters to show his film,” McGuire said. “We welcomed him, and are really excited about showing the film here in our Cinema.”
West said Safe Side of the Fence, deals primarily with Mallinckrodt workers in St. Louis from 1942 to present day.
“I am from St. Louis, Missouri and I shot the film in St. Louis and it is a primarily about the Mallinckrodt workers and their contract in 1942. The refined uranium in what was the world’s first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction which was done by Enrico Fermi in Chicago it would become known as the ‘Manhattan Project,’ West said. “Those workers after doing their job become some of the most contaminated workers in the nuclear industry history. So the film starts in 1942 and it comes all the way up to modern day and kind of compares workers back then in the 1940’s to and the health and safety of current workers now. It also deals with the challenges of waste, because in St. Louis, not only did we refine this uranium, but a lot of waste ended up spread around St. Louis, and we are still dealing with that today. There have been a lot stories about that, these have been national stories.
“The film is also about a woman named Denise Brock who fights to expand the compensation program, which is the Energy Employees Occupation Illness Endless Compensation Program,” West said. “It is sort of a complicated name, but it is a complicated program, and the challenges that are presented trying to get through it and Denise was among them trying to get through the program to accommodate her mom.
Safe Side of the Fence deals with Denise Brock’s efforts with the Compensation Program.
“She (Brock) realizes how difficult the program is, and decides to do something about it, so this is her story which is meant to help workers not only in St. Louis, but across the country who are trying to make it through the program,” West said.
Staff of Critical Nurse Staffing were also present at showing of the film at Portsmouth 8 Cinemas Wednesday.
Tiffanee Moyer, Critical Nurse Staffing, said they offer services and care to former workers nation wide, and had a table set up to talk with anyone who expressed a need.
“We provide in-home care to those have a Department of Labor card, once they have been approved through the Department of Labor for our services, then we can provide care,” Moyer said. “We provide services nation wide, so where ever there is a nuclear site. The Government has set aside specific money to take care these sick, former workers. Essentially, these people sacrificed their health for the betterment of our country, and we are trying to provide services that they have earned as a result of their work at the A-Plant, So there’s an application there is an application process, there are resource centers to help them.”
Immediately following the viewing, West entertained a time of questions and answers which was met by a host of members of the audience. Some shared very candid accounts of past experiences with the A-Plant in Piketon and how safety and health issues have negatively impacted their families, and many different ways.
West said one of his desires is to see a network of people coming together, sharing their stories and information to ensure that all of the unresolved issues pertaining to the nuclear industry are addressed.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.