Last summer, local filmmakers Julian Hayda and Father Myron Panchuk visited the squatter villages where an estimated 600 people live illegally within the radioactive "Zone of Alienation" around the site of the April 26, 1986, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which killed tens of thousands of people across Europe in the ensuing years and displaced 350,000. As a doctoral candidate at the Pacifica Institute, Panchuk studies the psychological trauma of Chernobyl victims. He expanded his studies into the documentary Block Four, which follows not only the squatters but also scientists, officials, and witnesses, about the legacy and ongoing risks of Chernobyl, where the failed reactor's concrete containment unit is crumbling.
Block Four screens at a 25th-anniversary commemoration of the disaster, Thursday 4/28 at 5:30 PM at the Chicago Cultural Center's G.A.R. Hall, 77 E. Randolph. Keynote speaker is epidemiologist and former ambassador Dr. Yuri Shcherbank, an eyewitness to the aftermath. Also speaking are Mayor Daley, Senator Mark Kirk, and Rep. Danny Davis.