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Nuclear Family

Still from the film "Nuclear Family" by Erin Wilkerson and Travis Wilkerson. Two children stand on a sand dune in front of a blue sky.
© Creative Agitation
  • Director

    Erin Wilkerson, Travis Wilkerson

  • USA, Singapur / 2021
    95 min.

  • Original language

    English

Cinematic confrontation therapy: since Donald Trump's election, filmmaker Travis Wilkerson has been plagued by nightmares of nuclear apocalypse. To cope with his fears, he decides to revive an old family tradition. With his wife and children, he embarks on a road trip along the missile silos of the “black heart“ of the United States. His camera always in tow, he discovers a landscape into which a often much older history of destruction, war and environmental disaster has already been inscribed.
The static shots of fenced-off scenery, motels and botany are repeatedly interrupted by the surreal grandeur of old analogue shots of nuclear tests. Apocalyptic mushroom clouds of the most spectacular colours rise up into the sky, set to such fitting music as Sun Ra's “Nuclear War“. Horror has never been more beautiful.
At a time when the news is dominated by coronavirus and the climate catastrophe, this essay film gives us renewed awareness of an older but no less real threat to the world in a very personal way. (Sven von Reden)

Erin Wilkerson, born in 1982 in Los Angeles, USA. She studied architecture and works as an artist within the Creative Agitation political art collective, which she founded in 2009 with husband Travis Wilkerson.

Travis Wilkerson, born in 1969 in Denver, Colorado, USA. He studied film and works as a writer, director and producer, making a number of films since 1999. In 2009, he co-founded the Creative Agitation political art collective with his wife Erin Wilkerson.

Production Erin Wilkerson, Travis Wilkerson, Catherine Wilkerson. Production company Creative Agitation (Los Angeles / Singapore). Directed by Erin Wilkerson, Travis Wilkerson. Cinematography Travis Wilkerson. Editing Travis Wilkerson. Music If Thousands. Sound design If Thousands. Sound Travis Wilkerson. Production design Erin Wilkerson. Executive producer Creative Agitation. With Travis Wilkerson, Erin Wilkerson, Matilda Wilkerson, Dalton Wilkerson, Adva Wilkerson.

Films

Erin Wilkerson: 2015: Machine Gun or Typewriter? (71 min.). 2020: The Scents That Carry Through Walls (14 min.). 2021: Nuclear Family (95 min.). 2022: The Smoke Rides on the Wind (13 min.)

Travis Wilkerson: 1999: Accelerated Under-Development (64 min.). 2002: An Injury to One (53 min.). 2005: Who Killed Cock Robin? (88 min.). 2009: Proving Ground (60 min.). 2011: Distinguished Flying Cross (61 min.). 2015: Machine Gun or Typewriter? (71 min.). 2017: Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (90 min.). 2021: Nuclear Family (95 min.).

Bonus Material

  • Still from the film "Nuclear Family" by Erin Wilkerson and Travis Wilkerson. Family members lay down on the grass in front of a large vertical missile.

    Essay

    In “We All Fall Down: Nuclear Families and Nuclear Worlds” Grace Halden writes about NUCLEAR FAMILY’s attempted disruption of a “nuclear normality”.

  • Still from the film "Nuclear Family" by Erin Wilkerson and Travis Wilkerson. A man and two children stand on a dirt road, with fields on either side of them.

    Directors' Statement

    Erin and Travis Wilkerson on the inspirations and events that shaped NUCLEAR FAMILY.

  • Polaroid of missiles as part of a display.

    Image Gallery

    A selection of polaroids taken by Erin Wilkerson during the production of NUCLEAR FAMILY.

Forum Program 2022

Funded by:

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