The world premiere of a new film on the life of former Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Alvin Weinberg will be held on Thursday, April 23, at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge. The film was written and directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker and Oak Ridge resident Keith McDaniel.
Although McDaniel has written and directed more than a dozen documentary films, he is generally best known for his films “Secret City: The Oak Ridge Story” and “The Clinton 12.”
According to McDaniel, the biographical documentary entitled “Alvin Weinberg” explores the life of the internationally renowned nuclear scientist.
“I didn’t know Dr. Weinberg very well although I did interview him a couple of years prior to his death,” McDaniel said. “His was a fascinating life. In making this film, I wanted to not only tell stories of his professional achievements but I also wanted to show what Dr. Weinberg was like as a person.”
He added, “April 20 would have been Dr. Weinberg’s 100th birthday, so it’s fitting to have this film premiere to celebrate both his life and his birthday.”
According to McDaniel, the film combines archival photos and film clips along with interviews of people who knew and worked with Weinberg. His youngest son, Richard Weinberg, is prominently featured in the film. The film, narrated by Oak Ridge resident and radio personality Matt Shafer Powell, also includes interviews with Murray Rosenthal, Fran Silver, Dave Hobson, Seaton Garrett, John Auxier, Howard Baker, Pat Postma, Bill Burch, Ray Wymer, Dave Reister, Payson “Rick” Lyon, and Shigeko Uppuluri.
The film was produced by The Alvin Weinberg Memorial Committee—an organization established after Weinberg’s death in 2006 to honor his legacy. Committee members Connor Matthews, Steve Stow, and Tom Row served as the film’s producers.
Matthews praised McDaniel for his work on the film. He said, “Keith is a remarkable storyteller and filmmaker. We are lucky to have such a great resource in Keith McDaniel.” He added, “I, along with the other members of our committee, are very pleased with the film and excited for it to be shown to our community and throughout the world.”
Funding for the film came from contributions from scores of individuals and organizations as well as major financial support from UT-Battelle/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Friends of ORNL, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, the American Nuclear Society, and Tennessee Valley Authority.
The April 23 premiere, being sponsored by Crosland Southeast and Capital Mark Bank and Trust, will feature two screenings of the one-hour documentary. The screenings are scheduled for 6:30 pm and 8 p.m. A pre-screening reception is planned for the lobby of AMSE beginning at 5 p.m. Both of the screenings are free of charge, but reservations must be made in advance in order to obtain a ticket for the screening. To reserve tickets for the premiere, call Connor Matthews at (865) 705-5890 or Tom Row at (865) 705-5174. When making your reservation, you will be asked to provide your name, the number of tickets you want to reserve, whether the tickets are for the 6:30 p.m. screening or the 8 p.m. screening, your phone number, and your email address.
Blu-Ray DVDs of the film will be available for purchase ($20) at the premiere with all proceeds going to the Alvin Weinberg Memorial Fund.