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Television Event


THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE meets THE ATOMIC CAFE in this archive-based feature documentary that views the dramatic climax of the Cold War through the lens of a commercial television network, as it produces America’s most watched, most controversial made-for-TV-movie, THE DAY AFTER (1983). 

This film addresses a universal challenge - grasping how vast global issues such as climate change, the refugee crisis and in this case nuclear proliferation affect us personally. We have much to learn from how this television network took a subject so terrifying, so unpalatable and turned it into a prime-time sensation. With irreverent humor and sobering apocalyptic vision, this film reveals how a commercial broadcaster seized a moment of unprecedented television viewership, made an emotional connection with an audience of over 100 million and forced an urgent conversation with the US President on how to collectively confront and resolve the most pressing issue of the time - nuclear proliferation. 

Strong plot points are illustrated through immersive archive and contemporary interviews with the larger than life subjects who were there – a TV-executive with unprecedented vision aspiring to produce a politically controversial movie, a headstrong Hollywood director aiming to unseat a president, a family- friendly commercial network struggling to think out of its conservative box, an actor-turned-president who is both moved and threatened by this TV-movie, and a White House debating the merits and messaging of a public response.

The Filmmakers

Jeff Daniels Director

Born and raised in New York, Jeff is a multi-award winning independent filmmaker specializing in feature-length documentaries. Now based permanently in Melbourne, Australia Jeff is best known for his first film the controversial 10 CONDITIONS OF LOVE (2009) which made international headlines after being banned bythe Chinese government for highlighting the plight of its Muslim minority, the Uyghur. He has since made MOTHER WITH A GUN (2016) about Jewish terrorist group the Jewish Defense League and FAIR GAME (2017) which sparked a national debate in Australia after exposing systemic racism within the Australian Football League.

Amanda Spain Producer

Amanda Spain is a producer with over 15 years experience in both feature and series documentaries. She recently joined Blumhouse Television as the Director of Alternative and Non-scripted Programming, where she develops and manages non-scripted content. Before producing Television Event, Amanda produced the audience favorite and award winning documentary Bathtubs Over Broadway which premiered at Tribeca and was nabbed by Focus Features. She has also produced series for numerous outlets including ESPN, A&E, PBS, MTV, HLN, Netflix and the Sundance Channel. She was a 2016-2017 Sundance Producing Fellow and is a current member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA).

Ozzy Inguanzo Producer

Ozzy Inguanzo is a Cuban-American screenwriter, filmmaker, and winner of the 2019 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary Screenplay for Focus Features’ BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY. As a consultant for writer/director James Mangold, Ozzy contributed to Best Picture nominee FORD V FERRARI, as well as LOGAN and its Academy Award-nominated screenplay. Additional world building and story consulting credits include GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE, UNCHARTED, THE WOLVERINE, and GREEN LANTERN. He is the author of “Zombies on Film: The Definitive Story of Undead Cinema” (Rizzoli/Universe), and “Constructing Green Lantern: From Page to Screen” (DC Comics/Universe).

Festivals & Awards

Tribeca Film Festival


If you’re over 50 there’s a good chance that on November 20, 1983, you were one of the over 100 million people who tuned in to the ABC-TV broadcast of The Day After, a made-for-TV fictional account the effects of a nuclear war on the U.S., shot in and centering on the midwestern town of Lawrence, Kansas before, during, and after the bombing. You also might’ve also watched the post-airing discussion with a panel that included Henry Kissinger and Carl Sagan. The timing was perfect. Increasing nuclear buildup through President Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” philosophy generated what-ifs, fear, and protests.

With great detail, Jeff Daniels combines interviews with the film’s director Nicholas Meyer, screenwriter Edward Hume, ABC-TV executives, residents of Lawrence where the film was shot, and many others with production footage, news footage covering the hype, and clips from the film, to trace a story of statement-making versus network censorship. The film chronicles disagreements on the set, the White House’s concern, the long-lasting effect on the townspeople of Lawrence, and the determination of the producers to get the film aired. This truly was a “television event” that generated controversy before its airing, riveted audiences, and left an impact in an unstable time.

—Brian Gordon

+ Festival Website


An absolutely riveting, highly entertaining and important story… [TELEVISION EVENT] is not only a remarkable, often oddly funny, look at the broadcast network machinations at the time...but also a game-changing show business event that directly affected then-President Ronald Reagan and his whole attitude towards the possibility of a nuclear holocaust…Must see viewing now.”


Witty, moving and engaging...Daniels’ sharp film never loses sight of that sense of urgency.”

-The Hollywood Reporter