WATERVILLE, MAINE -- On the heels of several sellout premieres across the United States and Canada, the creator of the inspirational, yet controversial documentary A Chemical Reaction announced he will bring his film and mission to the historic Railroad Square Cinema on Sunday, Jan. 10, at 12:30 p.m.
A feature-length film by Maine director Brett Plymale, A Chemical Reaction was described as "rousing" and awarded four stars by the film critics of the Montreal Gazette. Despite winning national awards and drawing large audiences, the film has also drawn the ire of representatives from the billion-dollar chemical lawn care industry, who have have been at odds for years with the film's executive producer, Waterville native Paul Tukey.
Tukey, a former HGTV host and the founder of the U.S. non-profit organization known as SafeLawns.org, appears frequently on screen during A Chemical Reaction while interviewing key figures in the anti-pesticide movement in Canada and the U.S. Tukey, a Johnny's Selected Seeds board member, said his goal in making the film is to create awareness of the health hazards and environmental degradation associated with lawn care chemicals such as weed 'n feed and Roundup.
"Canadian doctors and the Canadian courts have looked at the toxicity associated with chemical lawn care and have banned these products in much of that nation," said Tukey, a former Waterville resident who went on to become America's Horticultural Communicator of the Year in 2006. "Our hope is that people watch the movie and say, 'Canada has banned these products, why do we still use them in the United States?' This issue is particularly relevant in Maine, where chemical fertilizers and pesticides run off into the lakes, rivers, stream and the ocean."
Much of the movie's story focuses on Dr. June Irwin, a dermatologist who spurred the first town in Canada to ban lawn and garden chemicals pesticides in 1991. When Hudson, Quebec, told the lawn care giant then known as ChemLawn that it couldn't apply its synthetic chemical products within town borders, it set off a chain of high-profile court cases that culminated in the Canadian Supreme Court in 2001.
The town won the case in a landmark 9-0 decision and the chemical ban soon spread to the entire province of Quebec. Ontario enacted lawn chemical restrictions this past Earth Day and hundreds of other Canadian municipalities have also passed legislation.
For the past several years, Tukey has traveled across the United States and Canada in a relentless quest to tell the Hudson story and urge municipalities to follow suit. He said he is proud to bring the film back to the town where he first played baseball, soccer and all sorts of lawn games.
"It's important that our children play in a toxin-free environment and that ought to begin with their home and schools," said Tukey. "Since I've lived in Maine for all of my 48 years, I feel most compelled to share this message here. I'm also proud that all the movie's music, editing and production occurred right here in Maine and is now being shown to an international audience."
The Railroad Square Cinema, is the perfect venue for the film, according to Ken Eisen of Shadow Distribution.
"We're thrilled to be able to bring this important, Maine-centered film to audiences here in central Maine," he said.
ABOUT SAFELAWNS.ORG: SafeLawns.org is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to reduction in the use of lawn and garden pesticides and synthetic chemical fertilizers. It has produced a series of high-profile campaigns since its inception in 2006.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Brett Plymale at 207-776-8962. To view a movie trailer, visit www.ChemicalReactionMovie.com.
The film will be screened at the Railroad Square Cinema, 17 Railroad Square, Waterville. Tickets are $6.