Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hollywood screens chemicals: A Chemical Reaction, new film by Paul Tukey

 Hollywood gets down and green-y this month, screening a film that shines light on chemicals in our environment.   The last time Hollywood paid any attention to chemicals -- seems like -- it was Meryl Streep and the apples.   And Julia Roberts (photo: public domain) in Soderberg's Erin Brockovich.

Given the current Green climate, REACH regulation in Europe, and the US Environmental Protection Agency's mounting attention to chemicals, we expect the subject of toxic substances in our environment to go a little bigger.

Starting with "A Chemical Reaction."  It's a documentary film with a classic storyline: a small town that stands up to the giant chemical companies.  Keep an eye on this one. 

Centered on the small town of Hudson, Quebec, the 80-minute film explores a landmark case decided in the Canadian Supreme Court in 2001. After the Court’s 9-0 verdict against the billion-dollar lawn care giant then known as ChemLawn, most Canadian municipalities followed Hudson’s lead and enacted pesticide bans of their own.  Even Home Depot removed products such as weed ’n feed and Roundup from its shelves in Canada in 2008.

“The film asks the obvious question: ‘If Canadians have decided to ban these products, why does the U.S. still sell them?’” said Paul Tukey, the American author and anti-pesticide activist who serves as narrator.

“It’s not just a lawn care movie, though," said Tukey, also the film's Producer.

Director Brett Plymale (pictured, right) Q & A:
Q: Talk about your motivation for making A Chemical Reaction.

A: Initially I wanted to make this film simply because it’s a great story of a modern-day David vs. Goliath. But as I delved deeper into the intricacies of how the anti-pesticide movement gained momentum and the impact that it had on the entire continent of North America, my motivation has become more driven to find out what forces are at work to shape public opinion, and why we collectively, willingly do things that are potentially harmful to ourselves.

Q: It’s a title that can be taken a number of ways. Talk about why you picked that name.

A: The title was chosen for the very reason that it can be taken a number of ways. As with any title, its intent is to catch someone’s attention and have them say to themselves, “hmmm... what’s this about?  I want to find out more.” Pretty straight forward. However, I think when you look at this title for the first time, it puts you into one of two camps. Just by observing how it makes you feel when you read it can reveal a bit about how you relate to chemicals, that is, whether you feel they're helpful or harmful. Almost instantly you have your own reaction, and that’s the emotion the movie wants to get at. 

More of very good interview here.

Hollywood is paying paying attention
A Chemical Reaction is screening in LA at the end of February -- the film and the subjects march forward to the world's media mecca on the 28th of this month.

Notably, ABC news reported last fall that Hollywood processes are going green.  Chemicals went on tour last year with the Molecules that Matter traveling exhibit - featuring the more exciting chemistry of the 20th Century.

Fifteen Green movies listed on the Grist site show forward momentum  for the subject.  We'll see how it pans out.  Meanwhile we'll ask ourselves, where is Michael Moore on this subject?  Or should it be Quentin Tarantino...?

Good luck to the film.