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'Clouds Over Cuba' Interactive Doc Launches on 50th Anniversary of Cuban Missile Crisis; JFK Live Tweets

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood October 16, 2012 at 1:40PM

American history nuts, take note: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum launched interactive multimedia documentary "Clouds Over Cuba" today, the exact day Soviet missiles were discovered in Cuba 50 years ago, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis...
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JFK, Clouds Over Cuba

American history nuts, take note: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum launched interactive multimedia documentary "Clouds Over Cuba" today, the exact day Soviet missiles were discovered in Cuba 50 years ago, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Narrated by actor Matthew Modine, the film features dozens of archival photos, videos, documents and audio recordings that are automatically added to a digital dossier of the website viewer for further viewing and reviewing. An interactive timeline of the 13 most important days of the crisis will unspool "live" beginning October 16 (including secret ExCom meetings between JFK and his advisors, and letters between the president and Khrushchev), so that the viewer can "attend" these tense meetings and read the communications.

The film's conclusion is unsettling, offering a "what if" scenario, showing an alternate 2012 in which the Cuban Missile Crisis had escalated to full-blown nuclear war 50 years ago.

The most unabashedly nerdy aspect of the "Clouds Over Cuba" project is that @JFK1962 is live-tweeting important moments in real time throughout the 13 days of the documentary. Millenial social media meets the mid-century Red Scare. Kind of makes one ponder what Twitter would have enabled in the years leading up to that era -- @SenatorJoeMcCarthy? Yikes.

This article is related to: News, Digital Future, Documentary


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.