SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (October 7, 2021) – MSNBC Films has announced today the acquisition of feature-documentary, ‘IN THE DARK OF THE VALLEY’ produced by Village Roadshow Television. The film was directed and edited by Nicholas Mihm, alongside producers Brandon Smith, who also served as director of photography, and Derek Smith. This is both producers’ first featured documentary. Executive Producers also features MSNBC President Rashida Jones and MSNBC Films Vice President of Longform Acquisition Amanda Spain. The team also includes Elyse Kelly, director of animation and Katy Jarzebowski, composer. The documentary will premiere on MSNBC on Sunday, November 14th.
Mihm’s feature directorial debut follows a Southern California mother who discovers that an abandoned rocket testing facility called the Santa Susana Field Lab was the site of one of the largest nuclear accidents in United States history, and is located only 7 miles from her home. Concealed from the public eye for 20 years and never fully cleaned up; she grapples with the idea that the site may be responsible for exposing her daughter and the surrounding communities to cancer-causing radioactive waste.
The film focuses on Melissa Bumstead, the face of this movement, and Lauren Hammersley, both of whom created a wave of resistance against corporate and government interest. Bumstead, and Hammersley met at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles while both of their children were battling rare cancers and established a cleanup of the Santa Susana Field, forming a community movement. Additional subjects include, John Pace who was there at the time of nuclear accident and the Associate Director for Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles, Denise Duffield who is an influential force in the fight for SSFL.
When our team was first introduced to the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, we were astounded by the difference a group of broken, but unwavering mothers could make,” said Director Nicholas Mihm. “MSNBC gives these mothers a voice, a voice that has too long been stifled by apathy and greed, on a platform that won’t let this story get lost in the shuffle once again.”
“This is one of the most devastating man-made environmental disasters in our country that we rarely talk about,” said MSNBC President Rashida Jones. “This film illustrates the relentless efforts of mothers in pursuit of truth, and heightens the human side of this poignant story.”
“Village Roadshow Television is proud to promote new filmmakers and authentic voices in pursuit of advocacy and justice. Melissa Bumstead and the incredible team she has rallied around her are the humans we want to see on screen as they unflinchingly pursue a better world for our children,” said Shannon Perry, Village Roadshow Television’s Executive Vice President, Reality and Production Services.
To request a screener for In The Dark of the Valley please contact:
Marian Koltai-Levine | Marian.Koltai@rogersandcowanpmk.com
ABOUT VILLAGE ROADSHOW ENTERTAINMENT:
Village Roadshow Entertainment Group is a leading global entertainment company building premier, content-rich businesses in the entertainment industry. VREG employs innovative strategies to produce, acquire and deliver intellectual properties with timeless appeal, while maximizing group-wide strategic and operational efficiencies.
VREG is the holding company of Village Roadshow Pictures and Village Roadshow Television. Under its leadership by Vine Alternative Investments, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group diversified its portfolio to include financing and producing projects across multiple formats including film, television and digital.
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