From 1957 to 1978, scientists secretly removed bone samples from over 21,000 dead Australians as they searched for evidence of the deadly poison, Strontium 90 – a by-product of nuclear testing. Silent Storm reveals the story behind this astonishing case of officially sanctioned ‘body-snatching’. Set against a backdrop of the Cold War, the saga follows celebrated scientist, Hedley Marston, as he attempts to blow the whistle on radioactive contamination and challenge official claims that British atomic tests posed no threat to the Australian people. Marston’s findings are not only disputed, he is targeted as ‘a scientist of counter-espionage interest’. Now, questions are being raised about the health repercussions for generations of Australians.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
Winner of the Earth Vision Grand Prize at the Tokyo Global Environmental Film Festival
International Gold Panda Awards for Documentary at the Sichuan TV Festival.
Four nominations Australian Film Institute Awards
Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short & Animation Films
Winner Australian Cinematographers Society NSW (2003)
This superior documentary begins in 2001 with the discovery of thousands of jars of human bones, stored in a Melbourne lab for 40 years.
Filmmaker Peter Butt traces the bones back to the story of Australian biochemist Hedley Marston, who in the 1950s claimed that British nuclear testing at Maralinga had contaminated pastures and, thus, the milk supply with the radioactive substance Strontium 90.
It's a complex story that features multiple players with conflicting agendas - the egotistical Marston, pro-nuclear physicist Ernest Titterton, the British and Australian governments. Butt wisely plants whistleblower Marston at the heart of it.