ON OCTOBER 27, THE LIGHTS WILL GO OUT.
Gridlock. Fires. Looting. Panic.
See the AMERICAN BLACKOUT, Caused by a Cyberattack,
Unfold in Real Time by Those Who Kept Filming.
National Geographic Channel's 2-Hour Movie Event,
Premieres Sunday, October 27, at 9 PM ET/PT
(WASHINGTON, D.C. - October 7, 2013) Imagine 10 days of a catastrophic blackout across the United States. No cell phone service, no ATM withdrawals, no working street lights, no available gasoline ... no escape. Fact: It could happen.
On Sunday, October 27, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the lights will go out. American Blackout, National Geographic Channel's two-hour, edge-of-your-seat movie event imagines the story of a national power failure in the United States caused by a cyberattack - told in real time, over 10 days, by those who kept filming on cameras and phones. You'll learn what it means to be absolutely powerless.
Gritty, visceral and totally immersive, see what it might take to survive from day one, and who would be left standing when the lights come back on.
American Blackout combines startling user-generated footage from recent real blackouts and disasters like Hurricane Sandy intercut with the dramatic shot footage in feature film style. Follow the struggles of ordinary Americans wrangling through the chaos, and witness one prepper family who prepared for the worst.
Hacking into urban infrastructures isn't science fiction anymore; cyberthreats and the weaknesses of the grid are in the news every day. In fact, cyberattacks can indeed cause power surges that physically damage electrical equipment. Said Leon Panetta, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense: "The next Pearl Harbor we confront could very well be a cyber-attack that cripples our power systems, our grid, our security systems, our financial systems."
Extrapolating from previous disasters and expert opinion, American Blackout dramatizes this very concept.
"American Blackout not only plays like a true thriller, making you think twice about how prepared you might be if (and more likely when) this actually happens, but also should be a powerful tool to inspire discussion on what we can do to strengthen our defenses from such an attack," said Jonathan Rudd, director at Raw Television, the multi-award winning production company behind fan favorites such as Locked Up Abroad and the acclaimed feature documentary The Imposter.
Often called the largest machine in the world, the U.S. electrical grid connects Americans to 5,800 major power plants and includes more than 450,000 miles of high voltage transmission lines. Seventy percent of key power grid components are more than 25 years old, and the average age of power plants tops 30 years.
A 2013 congressional report on grid vulnerability revealed that more than a dozen utilities reported "daily," "constant" or "frequent" attempted cyberattacks, with one reporting approximately 10,000 attempts per month. And in the past decade alone, an estimated 679 widespread power outages occurred due to severe weather, costing the U.S. an annual average between $18 billion and $33 billion.
Don't think you're vulnerable? Think again. America's energy, water, communications and financial networks are intricately connected. Even minor disruptions in this modern framework can cause major disruptions of our lives ... a major outage could be disastrous. Recent winter storms and hurricanes have exposed this weakness. Think stuck subways, grounded flights, domestic fires from candlelight, panicked buying at stores, downed ATMs and closed schools and businesses.
For ordinary Americans navigating the turmoil, the question arises: When does civility and morality change to hostility? How safe would your home or workplace be? Who is apt to survive?
To capture the reality of a catastrophic blackout while telling a dramatic feature-length story, filmmakers used actual disaster footage alongside user-generated video blogs and scripted material. The result blends the three sources seamlessly, telling one tale of America in the dark that will leave you breathless.
American Blackout focuses on five different storylines: A family about to have a baby in California, and using a handycam; a teenage guerrilla filmmaker in Austin; students in an elevator in Arizona using their phone cameras; a New York City couple trapped in a penthouse filming with their phone camera; as well as a prepper family in Colorado using a camcorder.
Unlike the other ordinary Americans, the preppers have a generator that provides charging capabilities for their camcorder and have stockpiled supplies, devices and weapons. But when the SHTF, what would they do? How would they use their bunkers, vast security systems and stockpiled resources? Would they help or harm others?
Watch the full-throttle horror unfold and see how each of these characters attempt to survive 10 days in the dark. The hypothetical nightmare plays out on screen in real time:
Day 1: Street lights are out. Roadways are gridlocked in urban areas. People are trapped on subways and elevators. Most ATMs are unavailable. There are blackout parties and predictions of a baby boom in nine months.
Day 2: Toilets don't work and water doesn't run in some areas. There is no air conditioning. Food rots in freezers. Stores face massive demand for bottled water, canned foods, batteries and candles. Gas supply dwindles. Police, firefighters and medical personnel are inundated. There are reports of looting and fires from candles. Curfews are enacted.
Day 3: Police, doctors and nurses work around the clock with little or no break. Government and utility officials continue to struggle to restore power. Schools and business are closed and stores will soon shut down completely.
And there's still 7 more days to go!
If American Blackout makes you think more about preparedness, follow those who are obsessed with extreme survival plans. NGC's hit series Doomsday Preppers is back with a new season on Tuesday, October 29, at 9 p.m. ET/PT with even more radical survival machines, high-tech shelters and specialized escape routes. The series follows Americans from across the country as they prepare to protect themselves and their families from what they believe is an impending disaster - whether it's a blackout, nuclear fallout, financial collapse or something else.
Don't be left powerless. For more information, visit survivetheblackout.com or natgeotv.com/preppers, and follow us on Twitter @NGC_PR or @natgeochannel.
# # #
National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 84 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.
Raw TV LTD
Raw TV was founded in 2001 and since then has made numerous popular and award-winning shows for broadcasters including NGC, Discovery, A&E and CBS in the United States and the BBC, Channel 4 and Five in the United Kingdom. Raw is all about great stories told with style and has built a reputation for bringing visual flair and gripping storytelling to everything they do - from factual programs and drama documentaries to digital projects and current affairs. Notable output includes long-running Nat Geo series Locked Up Abroad, which is about to air its ninth season; smash-hit reality show "Gold Rush: Alaska," the highest-rated series of all time on the Discovery Channel; and critically acclaimed feature documentary "The Imposter," winner of many international awards and shortlisted for an Oscar in 2013.