COMMAND AND CONTROLUSA | 2016 | 92 minutes | Not Rated | Documentary
Directed by Robert Kenner
Thursday October 27, 2016
Martha's Vineyard Film Center
$12 General Admission, $9 Member,
$7 child age 14 or younger
Doors Open for admissions 30 min. prior to screening
Buy tickets at Film Center or online now BUY TICKETS
Directed by Robert Kenner
Post-screening Q&A with Producer Mark Samels.
In collaboration with WGBH – Boston
From Robert Kenner, director of the groundbreaking film FOOD. INC., and Mark Samels, executive producer of the Oscar-nominated film LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM, comes COMMAND AND CONTROL, the long-hidden story of a deadly accident at a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas in 1980. Based on the critically-acclaimed book of the same name by Eric Schlosser (FAST FOOD NATION), the chilling new documentary exposes the terrifying truth about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal and shows what can happen when the weapons built to protect us threaten to destroy us. The film features the minute-by-minute accounts of Air Force personnel, weapon designers, and first responders who were on the scene that night. COMMAND AND CONTROL reveals the unlikely chain of events that caused the accident and the feverish efforts to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States – a warhead 600 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
On the evening of September 18, 1980, Airmen David F. Powell and Jeffrey L. Plumb were performing routine maintenance at the Titan II silo in Damascus, Arkansas. At the age of 21, Powell was considered a highly experienced missile technician; Plumb, who had just turned 19, was still in training. As the two stood on a platform near the top of the Titan II, a socket fell from Powell’s wrench, plummeted 70 feet and, shockingly, punctured the missile. A stream of highly explosive rocket fuel began pouring into the silo.
Nothing like this had ever happened to a Titan II before, and the Air Force didn’t know what to do. For the next eight hours, the leadership of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) frantically struggled to figure out how to prevent a massive explosion and retain control of the thermonuclear warhead – a weapon so powerful that it could destroy much of Arkansas and deposit lethal radioactive fallout across the east coast
A cautionary tale of freak accidents, near misses, human fallibility and extraordinary heroism, COMMAND AND CONTROL forces viewers to confront the great dilemma that the U.S. has faced since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you manage weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them?
MARK SAMELS — Producer/Executive Producer of American Experience
As executive producer of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, PBS’s flagship history series, Mark Samels conceives, commissions and oversees all American Experience films. Produced by WGBH Boston, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is television’s most-watched and longest-running history series, and has been honored with nearly every industry award, including the Peabody, Primetime Emmys, the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, Writers Guild Awards, and Sundance Film Festival Audience and Grand Jury Awards. In 2015, the series received its ninth Academy Award nomination for the critically acclaimed LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM.
Samels has overseen more than 120 films, expanding both the breadth of subjects and the filmmaking style embraced by the series, allowing for more contemporary topics and more witness-driven storytelling. Beginning his career as an independent documentary filmmaker, he held production executive positions at public television stations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania before joining WGBH. Samels is a founding member of the International Documentary Association and has served as a governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Samels holds honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Emerson College and Elizabethtown College.
"Kenner’s masterfully shot and edited documentary proves to be more unnerving than a Hollywood horror film." - CBS News
"Cold War-era thriller with post-apocalyptic nightmare. Given it's all true, this one will stay with you for days after viewing." - Rolling Stone
**Official Selection – Tribeca Film Festival 2016**
**Official Selection – Sheffield/Doc Fest 2016**
**Official Selection – AFI Docs 2016**