The Devil We Know

Since it was invented in 1945, Teflon has been immensely popular with consumers. Its uses cover everything from nonstick pans to Scotchgard, rainproof jackets and microwave popcorn bags. So when it became public knowledge that Teflon contained a toxic chemical known as C8, it caused major shock waves. But even more disturbing was the revelation that 3M, the company that manufactures C8, and Dupont, the company that makes Teflon, continued to use C8 and tried to cover up its poisonous effects.

This documentary tells the horrifying story of this incalculable human tragedy and the victims centered in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where Teflon is made, who are suing the company. Women who worked around the chemical while pregnant have given birth to terribly disfigured children. One farmer in the area where Dupont dumped its waste, had his entire herd of cattle slowly disfigured and killed. In fact, tests show that 99 percent of the American population has traces of C8 in its blood. When 3M discontinued making C8, Dupont decided to manufacture it themselves, calling the problems “the devil we know.” You would think that, aware of the effect of C8, the bosses at Dupont would get rid of it, because it even affects them. But apparently the lust for profits has already made them blind. —Miguel Pendàs

Stephanie Soechtig is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and co-founder of Atlas Films.  She is a 2016 Sundance Institute Catalyst fellow, and her most recent film, The Devil We Know, premiered at Sundance in January 2018. Under the Gun (2016) received a prolonged standing ovation when it premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Lionsgate and Epix acquired the award-winning film, which critics called "masterfully crafted" and "the best film on firearms since the 2002's Oscar-winning doc Bowling for Columbine." Two years earlier, Fed Up, premiered at Sundance. A New York Times Critic's Pick, the film spotlighted our addiction to sugar and the ensuing obesity epidemic, and succeeded in bringing the issue into the mainstream. Stephanie's directorial debut documentary, Tapped, focused on the high cost -- to both the environment and our health -- of the bottled water industry.

Jeremy Seifert is an award-winning filmmaker and the co-director of The Devil We Know, his debut film at Sundance. His past films, GMO OMG and DIVE!  Living Off America's Waste, won over 30 awards at festivals around the world, including Best Documentary at the Environmental Media Awards. The personal nature of his films, using both heart and humor, finds instant connection with viewers and inspires real change, both personally and socially. Jeremy has appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, NPR's The Story, and has spoken at universities and conferences across the country. Jeremy is currently developing a series about makers, musicians, farmers, artists, and chefs called True Folk.

Director(s)
Country(ies)
USA
Language(s)
Release Year
Festival Year(s)
Running Time
88
Producer(s)
Writer(s)
Cinematographer(s)
Editor(s)
Print Source
The Film Collaborative, Kathy Susca: kathy@thefilmcollaborative.org