Production begins on doc exploring Canada’s role in Manhattan Project

Commissioned by documentary Channel and now in production, Atomic Reaction will depict Canada's connection to the Manhattan Project and the invention of the atomic bomb.
July 6, 2022

CBC’s Documentary Channel has commissioned a feature-length doc about Canada’s role in the Manhattan Project, which led to the invention of the atomic bomb.

Atomic Reaction is directed by Northwest Territories–based Dene filmmaker Mason Mantla (Fireweed) and editor and filmmaker Mich√®le Hozer (Sugar Coated), with Yellowknife-based Dene CBC radio host Lawrence Nayally (pictured) serving as the on-camera storyteller.

The documentary is produced under the Atomic Reaction Films banner, with David Hatch and veteran Canadian music executive Bernie Finkelstein serving as executive producers alongside documentary filmmaker Shelley Saywell. It was commissioned by Jordana Ross, executive in charge of production for Documentary Channel.

Production on Atomic Reaction has just begun with two units, one led by Mantla in Great Bear Lake, NWT, and the other led by Hozer in Port Hope, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec.

The doc examines “100 years of Canadian nuclear history,” according to a statement from Hatch. It connects the events leading up to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan to a Dene prophecy from the 1800s, and explores the history of the Canadian research into the development of the atomic bomb.

Both archival photos and video will be used in the documentary, as well as interviews and animation provided by multidisciplinary artist Kurt Swinghammer, with award-winning composer Jonathan Goldsmith handling the score.

Funding for Atomic Reaction has been provided by the Canada Media Fund, the Rogers Documentary Fund and the Ontario Creates Film Fund.

(From Playback Daily’s Victoria Ahearn)

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.