Meet Lucy Walker, documentarian behind "Countdown to Zero"


Today is the 65th anniversary of the first nuclear test in the U.S., and with it came the dawning of the very serious implications of this invention -- ones that still haunt us today. Filmmaker Lucy Walker recently premiered a documentary about the man who led that test, J. Robert Oppenheimer, at Sundance and screened it at Cannes. An exclusive featurette from the film, "Countdown to Zero," is on our homepage today (and below). 

What were you hoping to accomplish with this film?
Einstein described his support of the development of nuclear weapons as his one mistake, because their invention had changed everything except for our way of seeing, and thus we are drifting towards unparalleled catastrophe. I made this film to change the complacent thinking and avert a nuclear catastrophe.

How did you become interested in this topic?
As a child my most frightening nightmares were about nuclear bombs going off.

What did you learn during the making of this film that you didn't know before?
I learned how hard it is to make a film about nuclear weapons!

How did YouTube help in your research, if at all?
I search YouTube every day for work and find it to be the most helpful site. This is a golden age of documentary filmmaking and the technical revolution of portable -- affordable tools like HD cameras and YouTube are in large part to thank for that. Even 10 years ago, archival research was prohibitively slow, expensive and complicated. People used to advise filmmakers to go to DC and move into the National Archive for a few months! For this film I vividly remember the moment I found the clips of Robert Oppenheimer on YouTube and instantly knew that they would be tremendously powerful moments in the movie. As a filmmaker, a giant, brilliant check-mark goes off in my head when I shoot a great moment or find a great clip, and you know for sure it's going straight into the movie. Those are the awesome moments I suffer through everything else for.

What can regular people to do eradicate nuclear missiles? How can YouTubers help?
Support the movie!

193 Responses on "Meet Lucy Walker, documentarian behind "Countdown to Zero""

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    Interesting, thanks for posting that. By a chance do you know who chooses the videos that get featured in Mexico, cs I have a few good videos and I see most of the ones being posted are boring and lame! hehe anyways thank you!

    CM says:

    Sounds about an interesting documentation. But i`m also sad, that this would happen at all. A stupid world sometimes.

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    Victor says:

    My brother's research paper topic last school year is about nuclear weapons. I remember him reading articles about the topic. He even watched films about nuclear weapons.

    Personally, I'm amazed with short documentary films. My favorite is Sebastian, produced by Gadi Leshem because it is related to health services.

    By the way, thanks for posting!

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    Mmmmh, this isn`t itunes, right? ;)

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