In Pocinhos (Paraíba, Brazil), approximately fifty years ago, some unidentified US citizens began to appear frequently, leading a scientific research in anonymity. The small semi-arid city of Paraiba, today, has a high rate of cancer. Brazilian scholars, in the 70's and 80's, made scientific investigations in loco, confirming the presence of Uranium in Pocinho's subsoil.
In this documentary, the inhabitants talk about the situation, as some of them witnessed the Uranium extraction process and its measurement with a scientific equipment. They express their opinions or even take a chance to protest against the silence that still deny, to local population, any information that could eventually clarify the facts and, above all, the relation between Uranium and cancer.
"Era uma vez na cidade atômica" (Once upon a time in the atomic city) is a self production and was made without any sponsorship. The short documentary was shot in the small city of Pocinhos (State of Paraíba, Northeast of Brazil) during approximately four month, between June and September 2011. I've personally written, photographed, produced, and directed, but I received the precious help of a few friends, professionals like Deejay Hunter (electronic music composer), Carlos Mosca (Filmmaker, who's the co-editor of the documentary), Martins Alves (film actor/producer) and I also had a production assistant, Daniel Cabral.
Basically, the characters are the inhabitants of Pocinhos, either those living in the rural or in the urban areas. Everybody really helped and contributed with the screenplay by suggesting other characters, and specially, by telling (politically) un-convenient stories with such a courage and firmness. Nevertheless, it wasn't my intention to tell final truths through this documentary, that's why, despite all the considerations told by the main characters, I've decided to conclude the short film (during the final titles), introducing a nice, strong, and very lucid 106 years old lady who's being living the whole life beside Pocinhos' church, that is, just above the main uranium concentration. After having heard about many cases of cancer, including children and entire families, I thought that, including this funny and healthy lady would, at the same time, provide some kind of relief to the audience, and contrasting the (seemingly) evidence of a connection between the presence of uranium in Pocinhos' subsoil and the high amount of cancer that causes lots of sufferings to the inhabitants of this small city of the Brazilian Northeast semi-arid region.
Independent documentary maker