January 15, 2015
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Jessica Rustad
(402) 472-8607, jkinser@netad.unl.edu

Yellow Fever Uncovers the Navajo Uranium Boom

Tina Garnanez (Navajo) with her  grandmother  on the Navajo Reservation.  Photo by Sophie Rousmaniere.
Lincoln, Neb:  Yellow Fever, a one-hour documentary premiering this March on WORLD Channel's "AmericaReFramed" series, examines the history and lasting impacts of the Uranium Boom on the Navajo Nation through the eyes of young, Native American war veteran, Tina Garnanez (Navajo).

Directed and produced by Sophie Rousmaniere of Issue Television, Yellow Fever, illuminates questions of American energy policy as a decades-old Cold War uranium-mining strategy that is now being revived as present-day energy development. The film explores the large, ongoing conversation about the U.S.'s need for energy and the equal--if not more powerful--need to protect our country's natural resources. Today, the Navajo people are raising awareness and seeking to resolve the many problems that have arisen from the energy industry on the Navajo Reservation.

Rousmaniere recounts, "I went to a public hearing about the issue of energy exploitation on Navajo land. This concept of 'the paradox of plenty' or 'the resource curse' where regions with abundant resources are often poor in money had struck me as very bazaar."

The film was indeed a story to be told--not only because there were so many compelling elements historically--such as the "NIOSH studies" which hid documentation of the failing health of uranium miners--but because it has turned into a present-day debate. "There is a flood of applications being received in support of re-opening old uranium mines. These mines have contributed to the poisoning of wells and aquifers for thousands of miles," said Rousmaniere.

"A Native culture that has survived thousands of years is facing complications of a third-world country despite being located immediately in the middle of one of the world's greatest superpowers," said Jay Minton (Potawatomi), co-producer of Yellow Fever.

War veteran, Tina Garnanez, served in the U.S. Armed Forces in both Kosovo and Iraq. Upon her return to the states, she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She credits photography and spending time with family as a successful form of therapy for her.

During this time, Garnanez took an interest in the stories of the Navajo Uranium Boom. She decided to embark on a personal investigation of the uranium mining industry--looking at the cost of cheap energy, the potential for new mining on the Navajo Reservation, and the tolls it has on the environment. Throughout the film, she becomes an advocate, lobbyist, and a vocal proponent for transparency and environmental justice.

The Navajo Nation extends over nearly 30,000 square miles with lands in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. It is the largest reservation in the U.S. with a population of over 173,000. It is estimated that 3 billion tons of uranium ore lay beneath the Navajo Nation. Uranium mining began on the Navajo Nation during the Cold War in the 1950s in an effort to support the nuclear arms races. During this time, more than 2,000 uranium mines were excavated and four uranium-processing mills were built. Today, engineers and environmentalists consider the lands of the Navajo Nation and those immediately surrounding as an "Energy Sacrifice Zone"--a region highly impacted by pollution from the 16 power plants and the 35,000 natural gas and oil wells located there.

Yellow Fever--which received major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Vision Maker Media--is an offering of WORLD Channel's "AmericaReFramed" series. This documentary will be available to public television stations nationwide on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, at 8 p.m. Eastern. This program is suggested for scheduling for Earth Month in April. For viewing information in your area, please visit www.visionmakermedia.org/watch
About Vision Maker Media
Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, nurtures creativity for development of new projects, partnerships, and funding. Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality Native American and Pacific Islander educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media-to be the next generation of storytellers. Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we offer student employment and internships. For more information, visit www.visionmakermedia.org.

About America ReFramed Co-Producers:
American Documentary, Inc. (AmDoc) is a multimedia company dedicated to creating, identifying and presenting contemporary stories that express opinions and perspectives rarely featured in mainstream media outlets. AmDoc is a catalyst for public culture, developing collaborative strategic engagement activities around socially relevant content on television, online and in community settings. These activities are designed to trigger action, from dialogue and feedback to educational opportunities and community participation.

The WORLD Channel delivers the best of public television's nonfiction, news and documentary programing to U.S. audiences through local public television stations and streaming online at worldchannel.org. WORLD reached 35 million unique viewers 18+ last year (55% adults 18-49) and over-indexes in key diversity demographics.* Online, the WORLD Channel expands on broadcast topics and fuels dialogue across social media, providing opportunities for broad and diverse audience interaction. (Source: Nielsen Local Buyer Reach Scorecard 01/13-12/13)

WORLD is programmed by WGBH/Boston, in partnership with American Public Television and WNET/New York, and in association with the American Public Television and National Educational Telecommunications Association. Funding for the WORLD Channel is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding for "America ReFramed" is provided by the MacArthur Foundation.

Additional Information Regarding Yellow Fever (1/60):

Broadcast Distributor/Feed Date: 
WORLD Channel's "AmericaReFramed" series
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 @ 20:00-21:00 ET
A film by Sophie Rousmaniere.
Yellow Fever is a co-production of Issue Television and Vision Maker Media. 
Major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Vision Maker Media. Additional funding provided by Akasha Entertainment and New Mexico New Visions Grant.
Listen to Sophie Rousmaniere and Jay Minton's Producer Profile:
Film Pages:
     Official Film Website: http://www.yellowfeverfilm.com
     Issue Television Website: http://www.issuetv.org
     Vision Maker Media: http://visionmakermedia.org/films/yellow-fever
     WORLD Channel's "AmericaReFramed": http://worldchannel.org/programs/america-reframed
DVD Distributor: 
Vision Maker Media
1800 N 33rd Street
Lincoln, NE 68503
shopvisionmaker.org | 1-877-868-2250

Crew Bios:

Sophie Rousmaniere, Executive Director of Issue Television, has worked as a filmmaker and freelance journalist in the U.S., Canada, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Guatemala, Pakistan, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. She has produced, edited, and directed over thirty documentaries, short films, and music videos. Sophie's work is largely socia-issue based--having worked on topics from child prostitution in Thailand to environmental issues in the four corners area in New Mexico.

Jay Minton, Vice President of Issue Television, is a passionate sound designer, composer, musician, art director, and web designer. He has worked primarily as a production sound recordist in Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, and all over the U.S. He is a prop maker and art director, creating specific pieces to fit the needs of each production. Jay's post-sound work is extensive--creating foley effects, playing a wide variety of instruments, and creating the emotional lubricant that only good sound can do. He plays Mandolin and produced many of the sound effects throughout Yellow Fever's soundtrack.

Tina Garnanez grew up in Farmington and Oaksprings on the Navajo Nation. She was recruited into the military right out of high school where she spent time as a medic in Iraq. Upon her return to the U.S., she started advocating for peace and veterans issues. On the Navajo Nation, her family lives near key uranium mining sites and has been greatly affected by the loss of Tina's grandfather who was a miner in the 1950s. She has traveled on the Southern Route of the "Bring Them Home Now Tour," spoke at a Global Exchange event, an ACLU event, and has been extensively interviewed by newspapers and by various radio and television programs throughout the country. She spoke at a four-day peace event in Denmark, marched from Mobile, Alabama, to New Orleans, Louisiana. She holds memberships with Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace.

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