Red Torch is a small documentary production team made up of two journalists and former newspaper reporters, Jen Jackson and Brian Molongoski. We are producing a feature-length documentary film about the many healthcare issues facing the citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau today — those residing in the United States under the Compact of Free Association, and those living in Micronesia — from impacts of radiation to lack of healthcare access in the United States.
The documentary seeks to uncover the struggles of these communities and expose the broken promises of our government, including decades of Senate hearings, funding that was promised but never received, government testing on those exposed to radiation, and the continued problems caused by radioactive fallout. From some of the highest levels of thyroid damage and cancer in the world to drastically elevated rates of severe birth defects, stillborn births, and infertility. There could be no better time than the present to shine a light on these issues and the people fighting for a place to call home.
As we go further, our documentary aims to tell the stories of three major regions: Oregon and Washington, where healthcare legislation has recently started providing COFA residents with access to medical coverage. The Subregion of Micronesia, where America’s nuclear legacy is deeply felt to this day, and providing healthcare comes with its own set of difficulties. States like Arkansas and Texas, with large COFA resident populations without access to desperately needed healthcare and medical services.
We are so lucky to have partnered with Living Islands in June 2018. With Living Islands’ indispensable help, since last spring we have conducted interviews with community members and leaders, advocates, and government officials. We have met many incredible people and heard as many incredible stories.
Our goal in coming together with Living Islands is to help advocate for various communities from the Micronesian subregion of the South Pacific now living in the Pacific Northwest and the rest of the United States, and to educate all Americans on the effects of the United States’ nuclear legacy on South Pacific Islands.
While our work and filming to-date have taken place in the Pacific Northwest, this year we are hoping to travel, with Living Islands, to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and to the Federated State of Micronesia to learn, film and record the stories of everyone from local families to government dignitaries.