‘First We Bombed New Mexico’ premieres at Santa Fe International Film Festival

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — This Saturday, the Trinity Site is expected to draw large crowds, thanks to the success of the movie, “Oppenheimer.”

Another film is gaining acclaim for the story not told in “Oppenheimer,” as director Lois Lipman would tell you.

“After Oppenheimer, people said, ‘Well, we saw the bomb go up but what happened when it landed? How did it impact people?’ And that story has not been told and it’s the extremely important narrative of the people of New Mexico,” Lipman said.

Lipman’s film, “First We Bombed New Mexico,” details Tina Cordova and her decadeslong fight to get compensation for New Mexico Downwinders. Downwinders are people exposed to radiation because of nuclear testing and suffering health complications because of it.

“We were unwilling, unknowing, uncompensated participants in the world’s largest science experiment,” Cordova said in the film.

“First We Bombed New Mexico” took around eight years to make. It started as Lipman’s small project and grew into much more.

Thanks to a conversation with Doug Blush, a four-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker.

“He looked at the material, and he looked at what I shot, and he went, ‘Well, you have to make a feature film. This is absolutely incredible. I don’t know this story. This woman is amazing. The landscape is incredible. People want to know this, but you have to make it at the very highest quality possible.'”

The film is premiering during the Santa Fe International Film Festival, Oct. 18-22.

In July, the U.S. Senate approved an expansion to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act that included New Mexico Downwinders.

Now, as RECA expansion faces the ongoing gridlock in the U.S. House, Tina Cordova and others have spoken out to keep the momentum going.

Lipman says the film and the support it has could help.

“Deb Haaland grew up with one of the women we talked to for the film. She said, ‘I want to get this film shown on Capitol Hill. I want every legislator to see it. This is the strongest possible way that we’re going to get justice and get RECA expanded to include New Mexico.’ Because when people hear these stories, and they meet these people, that’s when their hearts get open, and that’s when they care,” Lipman said.

“I will do this until the day they finally acknowledge or until the day they put me in the ground,” Cordova vows in the film.

While “First We Bombed New Mexico” is premiering at the festival in Santa Fe, most showings are sold out.

The film is set to premiere at the Austin Film Festival next month. Already, it is up for Best Documentary.

The St. Louis International Film Festival will also show the film next month. For more details on showings, click here.