March 18 – 29
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March 25, 2014, 12:20 AM | posted by in Filmmakers
Did you ever think that cleaning your sink, washing your floor or dusting your furniture could be toxic? Toxic chemicals are in use every day in our homes.
“This issue was not on my radar,” says documentarian Dana Nachman, who at the time was a television news producer. “Someone I interviewed for [a TV news] series told me that products are not vetted by any government agency before they get onto store shelves and into our homes.”
She was shocked. So much so that she turned the topic into the film, “The Human Experiment.”
The film focuses on the impact of man-made chemicals on human health and examines the U.S. regulatory system that allows these chemicals on the market without any testing for health effects. The film’s website states, for example, that two of the sudsing agents used in some all-purpose cleaners contain substances that when in contact with nitrites “react to form nitrosamines – carcinogens that readily penetrate the skin.”
She is still shocked by what she finds out -- even after more than four years of working on the film and researching the topic.
Her audiences are shocked as well, and angered. But she also knows that watching the film is empowering. She now makes healthier decisions for her family and so can her audiences.
“People tend to go straight home and throw away products,” she says.
Although most are moved to action, her main goal is to inform and educate. “I … want to make sure that they have the resources they need to make changes so that they don’t feel helpless and just throw their hands up after seeing the film.”
The film is narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, who is also the executive producer. The two were introduced by a mutual friend and worked together on Nachman’s previous film, “Witch Hunt.”
“The fact that he thinks we are good enough filmmakers to align with really gives us a boost, for sure,” she says.
She admits, though, that sometimes the life of a filmmaker isn’t always that exciting. “… These films take a very long time to make and often you feel like you are all alone in the dark at difficult times of production,” she says. “So when you do get emails from people who the film resonated with or awards from film festivals it does feel good!”
— Anne M. DiTeodoro
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