Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The New Toxic Beauty Documentary Asks: Are Skin-Care Products the New Cigarettes?

Toxic Beauty is a documentary feature film with exclusive access to scientists, lawyers, advocates, regulators, politicians, a dynamic whistle blower, survivors and women who have lost their lives. It follows the class action lawsuit against J&J and the plaintiffs, personal stories of women fighting for justice in a race against time with this deadly disease. Woven throughout the film is a human experiment. We document, as Boston University medical student, Mymy Nguyen, measures her chemical body burden from over 27 products. Scientists monitor her shocking results.In the end, the film meets the companies and people who offer solutions and optimism for safer, toxicant free cosmetics.

In 1982, world renowned epidemiologist, Dr. Daniel Cramer, linked Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder to ovarian cancer. Since the 1960’s, J&J allegedly knew the risks and did nothing. In 2004, Dr. Philippa Darbre, a UK scientist, found parabens, a chemical preservative in many cosmetics, in breast tissue. In 2018, the National Institute of Health’s sister study linked breast cancer to personal care product use. Links to hormonal disruption in baby boys, developmental delays, low sperm count in men, infertility, cancer, diabetes, obesity and skin disease - the cosmetic industry isn’t pretty. Each morning we slather with 1000’s of chemicals, many of which are proven to be toxic. In the United States, the Cosmetic and Personal Care Industry regulates itself. In Canada, implementing regulations is under scrutiny. There is doubt propagated by big industries making claims that we have nothing to worry about, positioning themselves as champions of personal empowerment through their multibillion dollar advertising campaigns. Top researchers worldwide have the hard science to answer the question ‘Are cosmetics and personal care products making us sick?’ 

Toxic Beauty Facebook


PHYLLIS ELLIS – WRITER, DIRECTOR Ellis has over 30 years’ experience as a creator, writer, director, producer and performer in factual and scripted television and film. She was honored at the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards with the prestigious Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/ Political Documentary for About Her, narrated by Kim Cattrall. Ellis has been nominated for 7 Gemini Awards/CSA’s with 3 wins. Most recently she was nominated for CSA Best Direction for Girls’ Night Out and feature documentary Painted Land was nominated for the DGC’s Allan King Award in 2016. Ellis premiered two dramatic feature films at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. Ellis has produced, written and developed over 30 documentary, scripted and factual TV series, for CTV, Corus, The Scripps Network, Sundance Channel, Independent Film Channel, Vision, APTN and the CBC.

BARRI COHEN - PRODUCER Cohen has a 20-year history making award-winning independent documentaries through the CBC, Discovery Channel, W Network and many others. Most of her films involve health, mental health and wellness. Her many awards and nominations include the feature film Toxic Trespass: Children’s Health & The Environment. Cohen also produced Girls’ Night Out, directed by Phyllis Ellis. 

IRIS NG – CINEMATOGRAPHER Iris Ng is a cinematographer with over a decade of experience collaborating with award-winning filmmakers, including Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell (Best Documentary - Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and Best Non-Fiction Film - New York Film Critics Circle), Herman’s House directed by Angad Bhalla (Emmy Award for Outstanding Arts & Culture Program), The Ghosts In Our Machine directed by Liz Marshall (Best Canadian Feature - Planet In Focus International Film and Video Festival), and most recently, a portion of the Emmy Award Winning Netflix documentary series Making A Murderer.


White Pine Pictures is an independent, Canadian film and television production company based in Toronto. For 40 years White Pine Pictures has engaged audiences worldwide with compelling, revealing stories in documentary and dramatic form. Under the leadership of Peter Raymont, our film, television, and interactive productions have earned over 42 inter-national awards, including Genies, Geminis, several Gold and Silver Hugos and The Sesterce d’Argent. We have become trusted and regular suppliers of documentary programs to all Canadian broadcasters, and to the BBC, Channel 4 (UK), PBS, Nat Geo, France 2, ZDF-ARTE, SVT, ABC and SBS (Australia) among many others.White Pine’s breakout documentary Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire was honoured with the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentaries at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and the 2007 Emmy for Best Documentary. This influential feature film had a profound impact on audiences around the world. Other White Pine documentary features include the Oscar-shortlisted A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman (2008) and Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould (2010). As with many of our films, Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr (2015), premiered at The Toronto International Film Festival, and was honoured with three Canadian Screen Awards and an Emmy nomination. The Emmy nominated All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I.F. Stone (2016) also premiered at TIFF, has been screened at many film festivals and broadcast worldwide. In 2007, White Pine Pictures extended its documentary pedigree into the world of drama, producing three seasons of The Border, an award-winner for CBC Television, now seen in over 30 countries and versioned into 20 languages. Cracked is an award-winning one hour crime/medical drama, about a seasoned police officer at the helm of the Psych Crimes and Crisis Unit, who is himself effected by post-traumatic stress disorder. Cracked aired for two seasons across Canada and has been sold to France, Germany, and USA among others. White Pine’s experienced management team of Peter Raymont, Steve Ord, Andrew Munger and Stephen Paniccia are committed to engaging audiences across genres and platforms with stories that matter. We take pride in working with the best creative talent and respected international partners who embrace the depth of content and high production values that defines us. For more about White Pine Pictures: www.whitepinepictures.com

I am an Artist who carries a paintbrush, camera and notebook. Instagram: @pattifriday

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