The Chernobyl disaster, a catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred in 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, remains to this day the most disastrous nuclear power plant accident in history.
Taking place near the city of Pripyat, north of the Ukrainian SSR, the disaster was sparked by huge explosions that ripped the roof off of Chernobyl’s reactor number four after a number of catastrophic errors made by staff of the power plant.
Tens of thousands of people were exposed to lethal amounts of radiation which resulted in countless deaths, a huge surge in serious illness such as cancer and other major health disorders. To this day, an exclusion zone surrounds the area of Chernobyl which is not expected to be habitable again for at least another 20,000 years.
The disaster has been dramatised by HBO whose TV series Chernobyl has gripped the world. Directed by Johan Renck, the show depicts the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of April 1986 and the unprecedented cleanup efforts that followed, stars the likes of Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, and Paul Ritter. Its popularity has made the show reach number on IMDb’s vast database ranking of television shows.
However, before Renck’s hit television show focused on the area, budding filmmakers have become fascinated with the ghost town that Chernobyl now is. Four years ago, on November 23rd 2014, Danny Cooke released his film Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl. Working alongside CBS News on a ’60 Minutes’ episode, Cooke flew his drone over the highly contaminated area and narrowed it down to a short film.
“Chernobyl is one of the most interesting and dangerous places I’ve been. The nuclear disaster, which happened in 1986 (the year after I was born), had an effect on so many people, including my family when we lived in Italy,” director Danny Cooke said of the area. “The nuclear dust clouds swept westward towards us. The Italian police went round and threw away all the local produce and my mother rushed out to purchase as much tinned milk as possible to feed me, her infant son.
“It caused so much distress hundreds of miles away, so I can’t imagine how terrifying it would have been for the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citisens who were forced to evacuate.
“During my stay, I met so many amazing people, one of whom was my guide Yevgen, also known as a ‘Stalker’. We spent the week together exploring Chernobyl and the nearby abandoned city of Pripyat. There was something serene, yet highly disturbing about this place. Time has stood still and there are memories of past happenings floating around us.”