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MSNBC acquires 'In the Dark of the Valley' [press release]






LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (October 7, 2021)MSNBC Films has announced today the acquisition of feature-documentary, ‘IN THE DARK OF THE VALLEY’ produced by Nikomy, Good Shoes Inc., and Siloam Road, in Association with Village Roadshow Television. The film was directed and edited by Nicholas Mihm, alongside producers Brandon Scott Smith, who also served as director of photography, and Derek Sullivan Smith. This is both producers' first feature documentary. MSNBC President Rashida Jones and MSNBC Films Vice President of Longform Acquisition Amanda Spain are Executive Producers. The team also includes Elyse Kelly, director of animation and Katy Jarzebowski, composer. The documentary will premiere on MSNBC on Sunday, November 14th at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Mihm’s feature directorial debut follows a Southern California mother who discovers that an abandoned rocket testing facility called the Santa Susana Field Lab was the site of one of the largest nuclear accidents in United States history, and is located only 3.7 miles from her home. Concealed from the public eye for 20 years and never fully cleaned up; she grapples with the idea that the site may be responsible for exposing her daughter and the surrounding communities to cancer-causing radioactive and chemical waste.

The film focuses on Melissa Bumstead, the face of this movement, and Lauren Hammersley, both of whom created a wave of resistance against corporate and government interest. Bumstead and Hammersley met at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles while both of their children were battling rare cancers and together formed a community movement advocating for a full cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. Additional subjects include, John Pace who was there at the time of the nuclear accident and the Associate Director for Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles, Denise Duffield who is an influential force in the fight for SSFL.

"When our team was first introduced to the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, we were astounded by the difference a group of broken, but unwavering mothers could make,” said Director Nicholas Mihm. "MSNBC gives these mothers a voice, a voice that has too long been stifled by apathy and greed, on a platform that won’t let this story get lost in the shuffle once again.”

“This is one of the most devastating man-made environmental disasters in our country that we rarely talk about,” said MSNBC President Rashida Jones. “This film illustrates the relentless efforts of mothers in pursuit of truth and heightens the human side of this poignant story.”

“Village Roadshow Television is proud to promote new filmmakers and authentic voices in pursuit of advocacy and justice. Melissa Bumstead and the incredible team she has rallied around her are the humans we want to see on screen as they unflinchingly pursue a better world for our children,” said Shannon Perry, Village Roadshow Television’s Executive Vice President, Reality and Production Services.

MSNBC recently revitalized its longform programming under the banner MSNBC Films, which is designed to connect audiences to stories that help educate, inspire, entertain and shape our culture. In 2020, MSNBC Films, NBC News Studios and Focus Features presented The Way I See It, which became the highest-rated non-news program in MSNBC history and was nominated for an Emmy® for Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary. This year, MSNBC Films’ broadcast premiere of Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11, a co-production of Yard 44 and NBC News Studios production, drew more viewers than any other 9/11 documentaries in September. MSNBC Films also acquired acclaimed French artist JR’s Paper & Glue, which will premiere on MSNBC in January 2022.


Village Roadshow Entertainment Group is a leading global entertainment company building premier, content-rich businesses in the entertainment industry. VREG employs innovative strategies to produce, acquire and deliver intellectual properties with timeless appeal, while maximizing group-wide strategic and operational efficiencies.

VREG is the holding company of Village Roadshow Pictures and Village Roadshow Television. Under its leadership by Vine Alternative Investments, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group diversified its portfolio to include financing and producing projects across multiple formats including film, television and digital.


MSNBC is the premier destination for breaking news and in-depth analysis through commentary and informed perspectives. Reaching more than 96 million households worldwide, MSNBC offers live news coverage, influential voices, and award-winning documentary programming – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. MSNBC also delivers breaking news and information across a variety of platforms including, MSNBC on Sirius XM radio and TuneIn. The MSNBC App for iOS also provides access to live streaming and full episodes of select programs. Watch MSNBC anywhere: On Demand, online or across mobile and connected TVs.  MSNBC is part of the NBCUniversal News Group, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies, which is owned by Comcast Corporation. For more corporate information, visit


Nicholas Mihm is a Los Angeles based filmmaker with a B.A. in film production from Arizona State University. In 2021, Nicholas directed, produced, and edited his first feature length film, In the Dark of the Valley. The film has participated in a number of film festivals and to date has won three Best Feature Documentary awards. He has also directed and edited commercials and short films for major brands and organizations.


Derek has worked with the last Northern White Rhinos in Kenya, women’s rights organizations in India and cancer-fighting mothers in Los Angeles, with the intent to help tell the world’s stories on a personal scale. In the Dark of the Valley is Good Shoes' first feature documentary. The film has participated in numerous festivals and has won three Best Feature Documentary awards to date.


Brandon is a documentary filmmaker with a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. His passion for wildlife, human rights and the environment continue to be the driving factors for pursuing documentary film. When not on the road, Brandon’s hubs to the rest of the world are LA and Park City, UT. In the Dark of the Valley is Siloam Road's first feature length documentary.

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