PARKERSBURG – A Parkersburg native and noted documentary filmmaker is participating in a project about C8 in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
“The Devil We Know” is a collaboration of Stephanie Soechtig, Erin Brockovich and Morgan Spurlock, the Parkersburg native whose fame started with “Super Size Me,” his first film about fast food from McDonald’s.
“The Devil We Know” is about C8 exposure to DuPont workers and residents in the Mid-Ohio Valley from the production of Teflon.
DuPont, Chemours, the spinoff company that now owns the Washington Works plant, and about 3,500 plaintiffs in a multidistrict litigation reached a settlement of $670 million earlier this year. A science panel created in the settlement of an earlier class action lawsuit in Wood County found a probable link between C8 and six diseases in humans.
“As a native West Virginian, this story and the struggle the people of this community endure is one I could not ignore,” Spurlock said in a release from David Magdael & Associates entertainment communications from Los Angeles.
“I am hopeful that with this movie, we will continue to get them all the justice and closure they deserve,” said Spurlock, who was nominated for an Academy Award for “Super Size Me.”
Billed as a chronicle of “one of the biggest environmental scandals in U.S. history,” the organizers of the documentary also announced the launch of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to complete the documentary.
Soechtig is the director, producer and writer of “The Devil We Know.” Spurlock is the executive producer.
Jeremy Seifert is a co-director and Mark Monroe is a writer.
“I’m so excited about the team we’ve put together on this film,” Soechtig said. “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. And working with the incomparable Erin Brockovich has been profoundly important to the telling of this story.”
Brockovich took on Pacific Gas and Electric for contaminating the drinking water in Hinckley, Calif. She has advocated for citizens across the country and world whose water has been poisoned.
“C8 is one of the most prolific contaminants we’re seeing. It’s popping up every place,” Brockovich said. “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.”
The documentary is in post production and the Indiegogo campaign will enable the project to be completed. Those interested in supporting “The Devil We Know” can go to http://igg.me/at/thedevilweknow.
Contributors could receive a two-night stay and dinner at The Surf Lodge in Montauk, N.Y., an opportunity to pitch a film or television idea to a major production company, a pair of tickets to a taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers in New York and meeting with Meyers and lunch with Spurlock.
Among the local people interviewed were Harry Deitzler, an attorney representing plaintiffs in the original C8 lawsuits against DuPont with the multidistrict litigation, plaintiff Joe Kiger and Dr. Paul Brooks, whose company organized the collection of health data from about 70,000 people for the science panel. Interviews don’t mean they will be in the final cut.
“This film is an incredibly fascinating story that unfolds very much like a narrative film,” Soechtig said. “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,” she said.