Peter Stockton and David Burnham answer questions from the audience at the Whistleblower Film Festival last night. After the showing of Silkwood, Burnham recounted his experience as the New York Times reporter waiting to meet with Karen Silkwood on the night she died. Peter Stockton was the senior investigator for the House of Representatives into the mysterious death of Karen Silkwood and the mysterious termination of the government investigations into Kerr-McGee’s falsification of safety x-rays. Stockton and Burnham also explained how they declined to have their names and likenesses portrayed in the movie.
The next movie in the Whistleblower Film Festival will be The Insider. It will be at Room 2247 of the Rayburn House Office Building next Thursday, October 22, 2009, at 6:30 pm. Each film is free and open to the public. Dr. Jeffrey Wigand is scheduled to attend next week and answer questions after the film. The last film in the series will be October 29’s showing of The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers at the Capitol Visitors Center.
If you have not seen Silkwood, or have not seen it recently, I do recommend it. It is, after all, the eighth best movie of all time. Karen Silkwood is tranformed from a struggling factory worker to a union leader and nuclear safety whistleblower. She models a respectful bond for her gay roommate, long before such portrayals were common in Hollywood. She discovers that the radioactive materials needed for our nation’s weapons pose a danger of catastrophe. The corruption of a single supervisor can endanger millions of lives. Silkwood pays dearly for her cause, but continues to follow a moral imperative even at the cost of her own life.
Silkwood shows how you don’t need a fancy education or expert training to know what is right and wrong. You do, however, need the support of your coworkers and your union to protect yourselves from unjust retaliation.
The DC Labor Film Festival has other great movies, showing tonight and every night until Monday, October 19th.