Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes Trailer: A Chilling Never Before Seen Look At One Of The World's Greatest Tragedies

On April 26, 1986, the core of the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat melted down, causing a nuclear accident that released airborne radioactive contamination for about nine days in what is still classified as the worst nuclear disaster in history, both in cost and casualties. Stories around the Chernobyl disaster have been told time and time again, most notably in the critically-acclaimed HBO limited series "Chernobyl." Now, HBO is returning with yet another Chernobyl project, but this time without the dramatization. As part of HBO Documentary films, Emmy-winning filmmaker James Jones ("Mosul") is debuting his film "Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes." Thirty-six years after the initial disaster, "Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes" presents recently uncovered archival footage and recorded interviews with those who were present during the disaster and subsequent fall out, as a means to show the reality of just how horrific the Chernobyl disaster actually was, and the deplorable lengths the Soviet government went in an attempt to cover up what really happened.

It's estimated that over 200,000 people died as a result of the Chernobyl disaster, but the official Soviet count lists it only as 31. The Soviet's mishandling of the crisis utilized misinformation and distortion tactics still used today, led citizens to greatly distrust authorities, and contributed to the end of the Soviet Union. According to the official press release, "Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes" is the "full, unvarnished true story of what happened in one of the least understood tragedies of the twentieth century."

Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes trailer

"Everything was documented. The footage was hidden and the people's voices were silenced," reads a title card. "Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes" focuses not just on the immediately impacted by the disaster, but the far-reaching ripple effects the disaster continues to have to this day. The documentary will contain never-before-seen immersive footage shot on site in the immediate aftermath of the accident. "People seemed unaware of the potential dangers," a news broadcaster states. Soldiers, pilots, and miners were called on the extremely dangerous mission to help contain the radiation; meanwhile, the Soviet government was denying and distorting just how horrific the situation had become, putting countless lives in jeopardy.

The documentary features "deeply personal" witness testimony to tell the real story of what happened and how the people had been misled, including Ihor Hodosov, a miner; Ihor Pismenskiy, a helicopter pilot; Oleksandr Sirota, a ten-year-old schoolboy; Lyudmila Ignatenko, whose husband was a first responder; Nikolai Tarakanov, a Russian general; Oleksiy Breus, a Chernobyl engineer; Ihor Yatskiv and Nikolai Kaplin, liquidators; and Yuri Samoilenko, Deputy Chief Engineer of Chernobyl Power Plant.

"Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes" debuts on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 (9:00 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO and will be available to stream simultaneously on HBO Max.