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Press Release About Boston Film Festival


Boston to Launch A Chemical Reaction

BOSTON, MASS. — On the heels of a near sellout world premiere at the World Film Festival in Montreal, the controversial documentary A Chemical Reaction announced its first Massachusetts screening at the 25th Boston Film Festival on Sept. 23 at 2 p.m.

Producers of the movie, which focuses on the anti-pesticide movement that is sweeping across Canada and into the U.S., also announced an alliance with Northstar Media of Norwalk, Conn., to sell broadcast and DVD rights around the world.

“We are delighted to be working with A Chemical Reaction,” said Andy Weir, president of Northstar Media. “The film is impactful without being ‘preachy’ and provides great information in an entertaining way. It needs to be seen by the masses and we expect to make that happen.”

Directed by Brett Plymale of Portland, Maine, A Chemical Reaction was described as “rousing” and awarded four out of five stars by the film critics of the Montreal Gazette. The film also drew the ire of representatives from the chemical lawn care industry, who called the film’s executive producer, Paul Tukey, an “enviro-maniac” in a widespread email campaign launched Monday, Aug. 31 — the day of the film’s premiere.

Tukey, a former HGTV host and the founder of the U.S. non-profit organization known as, appears frequently on screen during A Chemical Reaction while interviewing key figures in the anti-pesticide movement in Canada and the U.S. He said his goal in making the film is to create awareness of the health hazards and environmental degradation associated with lawn care.

“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. “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?’”

That message resonated with the selection committee of the Boston Film Festival, which runs from Sept. 18-24.

“We are thrilled to present A Chemical Reaction,” said Robin Dawson, the BFF Executive Director. “ The information it provides about pesticides posing a serious health and environmental risk is something that the public should know.”

The town of Marblehead, Mass. — which was the first municipality in the U.S. to ban lawn pesticides on public property — is depicted in the 80-minute movie along with several other cities in towns that have attempted similar legislation. Much of the story, however, 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 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 dozens of other municipalities have also passed legislation.

“Hudson’s ban was the catalyst that set the dominos into motion,” said Dr. Merryl Hammond, an environmental activist from Quebec. “Once we saw what Hudson did, we said, ‘Why can’t we do that, too?’ Then you saw towns across the nation follow suit.”

Tukey and Plymale hope A Chemical Reaction sets off the same chain of events here.

ABOUT 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.

ABOUT THE BOSTON FILM FESTIVAL: The BFF has premiered 25 years of remarkable films such as; American Beauty, North Country, The Piano, Reservoir Dogs, Jesus Camp, The Ground Truth, Flash of Genius, Grace is Gone, Trade and many others. Additionally, a vast list of directors and talent have participated at the festival including; Greg Kinnear, George Clooney, Dane Cook, Sam Mendes, Sir Ridley Scott, Jerry Weintraub, Alison Eastwood, Robin Tunney, and many more. The Boston Film Festival is dedicated to supporting evolving filmmakers by providing a forum to showcase their artistic vision.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Brett Plymale at To view a movie trailer, visit

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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