Documentaries concerning climate change are often scarily provocative, cuttingly informing audiences about an apocalyptic threat, leaving a sense of hopelessness or doom. Those that deal with reasonable, practical solutions are rarer finds. David Schumacher’s THE NEW FIRE is one of these gems, making its international premiere at the Cambridge Film Festival.
The documentary presents an argument for nuclear energy, exploring how it could be an option for saving the planet. In vast contrast to how nuclear energy is villainously portrayed in popular culture (the film shows scenes from The Simpsons and The China Syndrome), and rejected by some environmentalists, Schumacher’s documentary focuses on the sheer potential of nuclear technology, and how opinion might be vastly removed from reality.
The New Fire follows engineers from new nuclear startups including Oklo and Transatomic Power, who are innovatively developing nuclear technology with new ideas for nuclear reactors. Carefully and comprehensively explaining some of their ideas, the documentary demonstrates how increasing development in smart technology can confront some of the environment’s greatest challenges.
Schumacher’s solid experience in production (the director has previously directed and produced television, winning an Emmy award for the series NYCMusicShow), has laid impressive foundations for THE NEW FIRE, a skilled and professional documentary. The real forte is the film’s ability to explain the science and technology behind nuclear energy using a comprehensive approach, resisting any tendency to talk down to viewers. Its clarity makes it accessible for all audiences.
With such thought-provoking content at its helm, Schumachers’ THE NEW FIRE is a documentary certain to inspire debate. Though it is pro-nuclear, there is the consideration of other energy sources, and contrasting arguments are touched upon. As climate change becomes an ever more urgent subject matter, films like The New Fire seem increasingly necessary- if only to encourage further discussion.