On a September night in 1980, two airmen were on a routine maintenance mission inside a Titan II missile complex in rural Arkansas. Perched on top of the missile they were working on was the most powerful nuclear warhead in the US arsenal. Then, with one horrible, but all-too-human slip of the hand, one of the men dropped the socket from a wrench, which plummeted down the silo, bounced, and hit the side of the missile, piercing a fuel tank which began to spew fuel vapor into the silo.
So begins Command and Control, the new American Experience documentary, directed by Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) and based on the critically-acclaimed book of the same title by Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation). The film makes its world premiere this Sunday, 4/17, at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
The film goes on to chronicle, in minute-by-minute detail, the feverish efforts to avoid a catastrophic explosion, and a potential nuclear detonation.
On the heels of John Kerry’s visit to Hiroshima—the first ever visit by a US Secretary of State—and just weeks after President Obama convened the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, American Experience is honored to be premiering a film about a topic critical to the future of humankind—nuclear safety.
It is truly a documentary thriller, and we can’t wait to share it.
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