McAdams at Slamdance Film Festival, speaks on “Downwind” film

Jan 24, 2023, 8:30 AM | Updated: 10:06 am

A hydrogen bomb is tested in Nevada. "Downwinders" says the bombs released radioactive ...
20160307 A hydrogen bomb is tested in Nevada. "Downwinders" says the bombs released radioactive fallout that affected the residents in 40 states, including Utah.

PARK CITY, Utah — Former Utah Congressman Ben McAdams made an appearance at the Slamdance Film Festival at the screening of “Downwind,” the film detailing nuclear weapons testing in southern Utah between 1951 and 1992.

“Downwind” chronicles the explosion of a 104-kiloton bomb by the Atomic Energy Commission at the Nevada National Security Site. The explosion left behind a massive crater and a radioactive cloud that traveled over Utah and several other states.

“Back when they were doing the nuclear testing, they thought that would be safe,” McAdams said at Slamdance, “and that no harm could come from this nuclear fallout. We know today that’s not the truth, that it has killed many Utahns.”

“I came to see people who I’ve worked with and who are now featured in this film,” McAdams said.

As a congressman in the U.S. House, McAdams introduced an amendment to a funding bill to prevent the resumption of nuclear weapons testing. That bill ultimately passed the House.

 “In that process, I became intimately familiar with the history and many of the people who were impacted by being downwind of those explosions.”

The documentary, one of 34 feature films to play at the Slamdance Film Festival, premiered Monday night. After the screening, co-director Mark Shapiro spoke of McAdams’ impact on the issue of nuclear testing in Utah.

“He was a critical part of our film, he connected Utah communities for us … and [helped] us to speak to people about this global problem. He really opened so many doors,” Shapiro said.

Contributing: Joe Davis

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McAdams at Slamdance Film Festival, speaks on “Downwind” film