New Documentary Film, The Last Atomic Bomb, Chronicles Nagasaki Survivor

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Nagasaki survivor calls on world leaders to secure a world free of atomic and nuclear horror.

THE LAST ATOMIC BOMB, Richter Productions’ new feature documentary, premieres Aug. 11 in Japan at the Nagasaki Atom Bomb Museum to commemorate that day in 1945 when the bomb dropped, nearly destroying the city and its people. The 90-minute production focuses on a survivor whose life work is to tell this story and on the young people who are carrying on her legacy.

THE LAST ATOMIC BOMB documents a number of issues including the still controversial decision to use the bomb on Nagasaki, the censorship of stories one month after the bombing by an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, the seven-year Press Code that barred any media reports within Japan about the bomb or its effects, the discrimination against survivors by other Japanese, the build-up of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, the anti-nuclear movement, and today’s nuclear proliferation issue.

Both veteran producer Robert Richter—twice an Academy Award nominee for best documentary—and first-time co-producer Kathleen Sullivan will be at the screening. The chief cinematographer is Alan Jacobsen, with editor Peter Kinoy (State of Fear) and music by Matt Hauser (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room). U.S. theatrical and other distribution arrangements are being explored.

THE LAST ATOMIC BOMB relays the story of 10-year-old Sakue Shimohira hiding in a shelter near ground zero when the bomb exploded. Her emotionally wrenching experiences are interwoven with rarely seen archival footage and never-before-told accounts of what happened to her in 1945 and in subsequent years.

One of the film’s most powerful moments describes her sister’s suicide as, she says, “the courage to die.” Mrs. Shimohira, the survivor, found “the courage to live” and dedicate her life to abolishing nuclear weapons.

The film follows Mrs. Shimohira—now age 70—and two Japanese college students, Haruka Katarao and Fumioki Kusano, to Paris, London, Washington, DC and New York where they present letters to Presidents Bush and Chirac and Prime Minister Blair, inviting the government leaders to come to Nagasaki this August for the 60th year commemoration.

In Paris Mrs. Shimohira shares memories in a moving encounter with an Auschwitz survivor. At the film’s conclusion it is clear that student Haruka has become motivated to carry on Mrs. Shimohira’s nuclear abolition message to young people around the world.


Robert Richter

(212) 947-1395


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Sara Widness
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