The world's nuclear power plants have generated an estimated 300,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste that must be safely stored for 100,000 years or more. Every year, they generate another 12,000 metric tons of high-level waste.
INTO ETERNITY is the first feature documentary to explore the mind-boggling scientific and philosophical questions long-term nuclear waste storage poses.
Structured as a message to future generations, the film focuses on the Onkalo waste repository now under construction in Finland, one of the first underground storage facilities. Onkalo is a gigantic network of tunnels being carved out of bedrock that will start receiving Finland's nuclear waste in 2020. Once the repository is full, in about 100 years, it will be closed and hopefully remain sealed for at least 100,000 years.
INTO ETERNITY takes viewers deep into the Onkalo facility as it is being constructed and asks Onkalo representatives, scientists, theologians and others to address fundamental but challenging questions.
How can our civilization know what the world will be like in 100,000 years? The first modern homo sapiens appeared about that long ago and no human structure has survived more than 5000 years. How can we anticipate climate and geologic changes that far in the future? What will life on our planet be like then? How do we warn distant generations of the deadly waste our civilization left behind? What languages or signs will they understand? How do we prevent them from thinking they have located the pyramids of our time or some other treasures?
With its stark, stylistic approach, INTO ETERNITYnot only raises questions about the possibility of long-term nuclear waste storage, but also invites reflection on the limits of science and human knowledge, along with our responsibility to future generations.
"CRITICS' PICK. I am tempted to call Into Eternity the most interesting documentary, and one of the most disturbing films, of the year so far... the way the movie and the people in it express their concern gives it a feeling of sublimity unusual in most environmentalist documentaries." - A.O. Scott, New York Times
"It might seem crazy, if not criminal, to obligate 3,000 future generations of humans to take care of our poisonous waste just so that we can continue running our electric toothbrushes. But it's already too late to wave off the nuclear age, and Mr. Madsen's film comes at a perfect time to join a worldwide conversation about what to do with its ashes." - Dennis Overbye, Science Reporter, New York Times
"Excellent. The haunting Into Eternity...is a rare hybrid: an information-packed documentary crossed with an existential art film. In a deceptively low-key manner, Danish filmmaker Michael Madsen has beautifully crafted one of the most provocative movies of the year." - San Francisco Chronicle
"Tackles a subject almost beyond comprehension .... one of the most extraordinary factual films to be shown this year. Why isn't every government, every philosopher, every theologian, everywhere in the world discussing Onkalo and its implications?" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
"Recommended. What animates the film is the other worldliness of the under-construction project, and the paradoxes the finished Onkalo will embody. If Onkalo succeeds, it will become the longest-lasting product of contemporary civilization - which it might very well outlive." - Mark Jenkins, NPR.org
AWARDS & SCREENINGS
Grand Prize, Paris Int'l Environmental Film Festival (FIFE) Grand Prize, Vision Du Reel - Nyon Green Screen Award, IDFA, Amsterdam
Official Selection Tribeca Film Festival San Francisco Green Festival