Gene Mederos and his New Mexico Film Resource at Santa Fe Community College are really going to help make our documentary, "Forgotten: Trinity's Downwinders," finally happen. The decades of suffering and loss among the residents of southern New Mexico after the first detonation of an atomic bomb are beyond the pale -- young girls swimming in a fallout-laden river, a child born without eyes,radiation burns on the day of the blast, families wiped out by radiation-related cancers and other illnesses. The stories never end, each worse than the last.

Lois Lipman, an Emmy-award winning documentary filmmaker and former field producer for CBS News' "60 Minutes" and the BBC in London has joined our film team. Lois' extensive experience in choosing strong, dynamic characters, conducting journalistic research and creating compelling narratives already has proven valuable to our project.

Thanks to all who donated dozens of items - from clothes to sporting gear -  to our two recent flea market fundraisers in Eldorado. Proceeds have helped to pay down editing expenses incurred in the production of our sizzle reel.

Fred Tyler, co-founder of the the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, passed away Feb. 14, 2014, of a lung ailment that came on suddenly. Fred is featured prominently in our sizzle reel, speaking eloquently to the sense of abandonment many residents feel. We are still shaken by the shock of his unexpected death.

Co-producer Natalie Guillen, sound engineer Eric Shultz and I traveled to the Tularosa and Carrizozo areas recently to film rancher Jess Gilland who witnessed the Trinity blast on the early morning of July 16, 1945. He recalled for our cameras how the sides of the cattle facing the Trinity site turned yellow, as did the nearby pinion nuts. Many of the cattle also were blinded by the atomic flash.

Natalie and I traveled to Tularosa July 14, 2013  to film a vigil held by the Trinity downwinders on behalf of those who apparently have died and been made ill by the radiation and other toxins released by the first detonation of an atomic bomb on July 16, 1945.

It was a very emotionally moving, and I must say disturbing, event. Representatives of several members of Congress read statements of support, but in the 67 years since the dawn of the nuclear age, none has been forthcoming.

Mayor Ray Cordova said that over the decades every family in Tularosa has suffered deaths and illness from the detonation.

"There is not a single family in Tularosa that I know of that has not been touched by cancer," Cordova said. "Every family has a member  or two or three and some even four members in their family who have been afflicted. ... This place has been contaminated and I don't know when the U.S. Government is going to take this matter seriously and start helping  people."

Cordova said he is convinced that the danger continues to this day. 

"I believe that this whole basin was contaminated and remains contaminated; Every time we have a windstorm or a dust storm, that contamination goes back up in the air and more people are afflicted."

As part of the vigil, Joey Padilla, a medicine man from the nearby Mescalero Apache community, performed a personalized healing rite on the sick in attendance, and candle's and luminarias were lit in memory of those who have died, as well as survivors.


  1. Here are a few of the more recent updates from our previous site at Indiegogo.com.:

    On March 3, videographer and associate producer Natalie Guillen and I traveled to Tularosa to attend an important organizational meeting of the Trinity downwinders. They formed groups to step up their lobbying and community outreach efforts.

    We also did some filming around the area — to give our eventual audience a sense of place. More importantly we filmed and listened to the accounts of several families for whom the suffering just never seems to end.

    It is truly heart-breaking the lack of attention and care these folks have received. Fred Tyler noted that the medical-test chimpanzees at Holloman Air Force Base have received more attention than the long-ignored human residents of the Tularosa Basin.

    Earlier this year, I attended a documentary producers workshop in Santa Monica, Calif. Our project was well-received there and Mitchell Block, an Academy Award winning producer, was quite encouraging. But there is a lot of work that remains to be done. We have only just begun.

    I want to share an email we received recently concerning our project.

    This from Tina Cordova, a Tularosa downwinder, which is meant for all those who are backing this project in whatever way they can:

    “In the last few weeks we’ve had several people pass on from cancer that are living in or are from Tularosa. It never ends. What a horrible legacy the people have been left to live with! I know that you will find a way to do this film. You are an angel for spending your time this way. Thanks from me, my family and all the people of the Tularosa Basin”

    Our producer and co-director, Stuart Overbey, just won a top award at a film festival in Irvine Calif., for her recently released documentary “The Forgotten Bomb” So we’re in good company. Her production company is halflife digital in Albuquerque.

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  3. My mother grew up in Tularosa. She used to tell me stories of how they put all the livestock on display that were killed when they exploded the bomb. She said no one mentioned that the livestock might be radioactive.....! Folks were very naive about the dangers.