“THE DEVIL WE KNOW” CHRONICLES ONE OF THE BIGGEST ENVIRONMENTAL SCANDALS IN U.S. HISTORY, INVOLVING ONE OF THE MOST RECOGNIZABLE BRAND NAMES EVER: TEFLON
AN INDIEGOGO CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO SUPPORT THE COMPLETION OF THIS GROUNDBREAKING DOCUMENTARY
Two forces in the documentary film world – Oscar® nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (SUPER SIZE ME) and award-winning director Stephanie Soechtig (FED UP) – have teamed up on an eye-opening new film that tells the story of an unprecedented chemical contamination that started in one of their hometowns before spreading around the globe. Today marks the launch of their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, in order to raise the funds needed to finish the film, which is currently in post-production.
After taking on, respectively, fast food behemoth McDonald’s and the food and beverage industry, the filmmakers have turned their attention to the chemical industry in THE DEVIL WE KNOW.
Soechtig is the director, producer and writer of the project, with Spurlock coming on board as the Executive Producer, Jeremy Seifert (GMO OMG) co-directing, and Mark Monroe is also writing.
THE DEVIL WE KNOW focuses on one such story that unfolded in Parkersburg, West Virginia. For decades, the makers of Teflon, the multi-national chemical corporation DuPont, exposed its workers and an entire community to C8, a toxic chemical used to make its non-stick superstar and countless other consumer products. Now, according to the CDC, C8 is found in the blood of 99.7% of Americans.
The film features environmental activist Erin Brockovich, who famously took on Pacific Gas and Electric for contaminating the drinking water in Hinckley, California, and has remained an outspoken advocate for citizens across the country and around the world whose water has been poisoned.
“C8 is one of the most prolific contaminants we're seeing. It’s popping up every place,” states Brockovich. “It's in everything. I'm dealing with so many communities right now who are sick. Many have suffered with illnesses that science is starting to link with C8.”
"As a native West Virginian, this story and the struggle the people of this community endure is one I could not ignore,” adds Spurlock. “I am hopeful that with this movie, we will continue to get them all the justice and closure they deserve."
“I’m so excited about the team we’ve put together on this film,” says Soechtig. “Morgan is a very generous and gracious collaborator, and his support of the film is especially meaningful given that it takes place in his hometown of Parkersburg, WV. And working with the incomparable Erin Brockovich has been profoundly important to the telling of this story.”
With the project in post-production, the filmmakers today launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in order to finish the film. Those interested in supporting THE DEVIL WE KNOW can find out more at http://igg.me/at/thedevilweknow. Unique perks for participating include a 2-night stay, plus dinner, at The Surf Lodge in Montauk, NY; an opportunity to pitch a film and/or television project to a major production company; a pair of tickets to a taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers in New York - including a meet-and-greet with Meyers; and a lunch meeting with director Morgan Spurlock.
“This film is an incredibly fascinating story that unfolds very much like a narrative film,” adds Soechtig. “While it is similar to my other films - UNDER THE GUN and FED UP - in that it explores a very complex, very urgent social issue, stylistically it is much different from those films and that has been an exciting challenge for me. I am hopeful that THE DEVIL WE KNOW will be a wake-up call to the public about the complete lack of oversight on tens of thousands of industrial chemicals in this country.”
THE DEVIL WE KNOW represents the second film on which Spurlock's Warrior Poets has partnered with Indiegogo to support the funding of documentaries on the crowdfunding platform.
ABOUT “THE DEVIL WE KNOW”
C8 is a chemical in the bloodstream of 99.7% of Americans – how it got there and why it took a cattle farmer and a PE teacher in West Virginia to expose the chemical is a fascinating and timely tale.
Tucked in the rolling hills of West Virginia, the town of Parkersburg is described by those who live there as an idyllic place to raise a family. It’s also home to a sprawling DuPont chemical plant that manufactures Teflon. When Earl Tennant and his brother Jim noticed the cows on their family farm were mysteriously dying, they suspected it might be tied to the adjacent “non-hazardous” landfill operated by DuPont. Then one autumn day in 2000, local schoolteacher Joe Kiger opened his mail and found a letter in his water bill informing him that C8 - DuPont’s Teflon chemical - was in his drinking water, but safe for consumption. Most people would throw the letter away – and most did – but Joe Kiger is different. The trail of deception he and his wife Darlene uncovered made the sleepy town of Parkersburg the epicenter of one of the largest class action lawsuits in the history of environmental law.
Internal documents and secret in-house studies reveal a disturbing truth: DuPont had knowingly been pumping a toxic chemical into the air and public water supply of more than 70,000 people for decades.
The heroes who brought this contamination out of the darkness help the filmmakers expose a complex, decades-long cover-up by one of the world's largest chemical corporations. As the story continues to unfold to this day, plaintiffs in an historic class action lawsuit break their silence about the suffering they’ve endured at the hands of the chemical giant in their backyard.
ABOUT STEPHANIE SOECHTIG
Stephanie Soechtig is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and co-founder of Atlas Films. Her most recent film, UNDER THE GUN, received a prolonged standing ovation when it premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and critics called it "the best film on firearms since the 2002’s Oscar-winning doc Bowling for Columbine.” Two years earlier, FED UP, which spotlighted out addiction to sugar and the ensuing obesity epidemic, premiered at Sundance. Other projects include TAPPED, about the bottled water industry, and THE LAST ANIMALS, about Africa’s poaching crisis.
ABOUT MORGAN SPURLOCK
Morgan Spurlock is an Oscar® nominated filmmaker and founder of Warrior Poets, a New York-based production studio. His first film, SUPER SIZE ME, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, winning Best Directing honors. The film went on to win the inaugural WGA Best Documentary Screenplay award, as well as garner an Academy Award® nomination for Best Feature Documentary. Since then he has directed, produced, and distributed multiple film, television and online projects, including THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD; WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?; RATS; MANSOME; CNN’s INSIDE MAN; and more.
Indiegogo empowers people around the world to fund what matters to them. As the largest global crowdfunding platform, campaigns have launched from almost every country around the world with millions of dollars being distributed every week due to contributions made by the Indiegogo community. Indiegogo is an open platform dedicated to democratizing the way people raise funds for any project – creative, entrepreneurial or cause-related. The company was launched in 2008 and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles and New York. For more information, visit www.indiegogo.com and follow us at www.twitter.com/indiegogo and www.facebook.com/indiegogo.
● C8 – also known as PFOA – is a synthetic industrial chemical that has been used in the manufacture of Teflon cookware and countless other products, like water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant carpeting, food wrappers, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn, dental floss, firefighting foam, and more.
● A panel of independent scientists have linked C8 exposure, even at low doses, to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and pre-eclampsia.
● C8 has been detected in the drinking water of at least 6.5 million Americans in 27 states.
● C8 is one of the most persistent chemicals known to man - it is completely resistant to biodegradation and it accumulates in the blood.
● C8 has been found in the blood and organs of numerous wildlife species around the globe, from the Alaskan polar bear to the bald eagle, sea turtles to salmon.
● Studies have found C8 in the umbilical cord blood of every newborn baby tested.