To commemorate the 18th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the United Nations hosted a special event on 27 April 2004 that featured a screening of Maryann De Leo's Oscar-winning documentary "Chernobyl Heart"

Among those present were Maryann De Leo, Sheila Nevins (from HBO), Mark Malloch Brown (who will head The United Nations Office on Chernobyl) and Adi Roche (of the Chernobyl Children's Project). The Belorussian, Ukrainian, and Russian Ambassadors also gave speeches to the UN. Dr. Novick, who is featured in the film, gave the following speech. "Today, the United Nations recognizes and calls the world's attention to the greatest nuclear disaster in the history of our world. Hopefully this will be the last nuclear disaster we as a people will ever be forced to face. As you have seen in "Chernobyl Heart," the people of this region are still faced with the effects of this horrific catastrophe."

I am honored and extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with you today. Chernobyl has been removed from the minds of most of the world outside the countries that suffered directly from its devastating consequences. It is my fervent hope that HBO's "Chernobyl Heart" will refocus the attention of the world on the continuing problems that the governments, people, and most of all the children of these regions are facing daily. As the American Indians of the past said, we have but one earth, let us live together with it in harmony and reverence.


"Chernobyl Heart" wins the Oscar for the Best Documentary Short Subject at the 76th Academy Awards.

In her film, the American filmmaker and producer Maryann De Leo focuses on the continuing effects of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 on the children of Belarus, the country most affected by what the United Nations calls the worst technological disaster in the history of the nuclear age. The film chronicles the invisible trail of radiation to the country's hospitals, cancer centers, orphanages and mental asylums.

The 39-minute CHERNOBYL HEART features the children of the Vesnova children's home, which is located about 125 miles (200 km) southeast of Minsk, near Bobruisk. The facility houses more than 150 high dependency children and young adults aged five to 25. Chernobyl Children's Project has been working with Vesnova since 2002 to improve conditions and treatment for the children there.

The film also features Dr. William Novick, a noted cardiac surgeon whose work in Belarus is funded by CCPI. More than 7,000 children in Belarus are on an ever-growing waiting list for lifesaving cardiac surgery.

"CCPI congratulates Maryann De Leo, and all those associated with the film," said Sherrie Douglas, CCPI's U.S. executive director. "Our hope is that the film will build awareness of the plight of the children who continue to suffer from the medical, social, and economic effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986." It is our responsibility to offer not just humanitarian aid, but long term solutions to be sure that the children of Chernobyl are not forgotten."

All Rights Reserved By Maryann De Leo.