Film highlights international progress towards nuclear disarmament

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Doves are released at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Aug. 6, 2015, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Hiroshima, Japan.

After his long career producing national and international TV coverage for American network television, Robert Frye has devoted special attention to one topic that profoundly influenced his worldview — the threat of nuclear destruction. 

Frye served in a nuclear unit of the U.S. Army in the 1950s, an experience that he can’t talk about in any detail. After he left the military to earn his stripes as a top television journalist, Frye produced ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings and Good Morning America. He also co-produced a three-hour special on the release of American hostages in Iran. In 1988, he left network news to produce and direct feature-length independent documentaries, many of which examined the effects of World War II. 

Frye’s latest film, In Search of Resolution, is the third in his decades-long project examining international efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Now airing on public TV stations and available for streaming through the PBS website and app, its release coincides with commemoration of the United States’ use of nuclear weapons in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945.

World, the digital multicast service that specializes in multicultural documentaries, will present the film to a national audience next month. Its two airings, on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30, are timed to follow the United Nations’ International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, commemorated annually on Sept. 26, according to Selena Lauterer, station relations representative for the film. 

Generational gift

The first film in Frye’s trilogy, In My Lifetime, documented the history of the nuclear age and international efforts to prevent the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons. The title points to what Frye witnessed — and the resolution he hoped for — within his lifetime. 

Frye sees his latest film, In Search of Resolution, as a “legacy piece” that synthesizes his  experience and knowledge about nuclear disarmament to future generations, he said in an interview. 

“It is a generational gift that whatever perspectives I have — or information I have to share — should be available to your generation and future generations, because this story is not going away,” Frye said.


He initiated the film last year. “What presented itself was the shadowy view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the threat of using nuclear weapons,” Frye said. Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Endeavor Foundation funded the documentary, which is distributed to public TV stations by APT.

Filmed between March and August 2022, In Search of Resolution takes viewers to major international meetings on disarmament where decisions are made. These include the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons and the United Nations’ Youth Champions for Disarmament Training Program. 

“It’s not just about the destruction. It’s about decisions taken by human beings no matter where they are in the struggle of these treaties,” Frye told Current.

In Search of Resolution details the challenges faced by disarmament advocates and explores attempts to build public awareness and advance their movement. For example, the film discusses adoption of the 2021 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which made nuclear weapons illegal under international law, as a major achievement that filled the legal gap in disarmament.

The documentary takes viewers inside the 2022 U.N. Youth Champions for Disarmament training program, which was attended by youth activists from around the world and top U.N. leaders in disarmament.

“You’re inheriting this planet from the older folks like myself, and this is the planet you need to ensure that you are improving,” said Thomas Markram, deputy director of the U.N. Office of Disarmament Affairs, during a conversation with participants in the program. “Anything that you can do now to make that future a better future, and a future hopefully with less weapons or absolutely no nuclear weapons, all the better.”

Throughout the film, leaders in the field of disarmament emphasize the need for dialogue.

“The way to clarify these things is precisely to sit down and talk and to explain to each other what the difficulties are,” said Sergio Duarte, president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

Lauterer, who has worked with Frye for more than a decade, said conversations about disarmament feel “so overwhelming as just a citizen of the world.” Yet In Search of Resolution offers an antidote to the existential threat of nuclear weaponry. 

“It’s frightening and scary, but he has distilled it into this one hour that makes you feel like, ‘Yes, good people are having this needed conversation and we can find a way forward,’” Lauterer said. “We just have to keep going.”

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