Chapman Alumna Malina Fagan (BFA/Film Production ’14) is currently making her first feature documentary on the toxic chemicals found in everyday cosmetics and personal care products. The film is called
and began as a senior thesis that she directed, produced, filmed and edited as part of Sally Rubin’s documentary class at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. The film will unveil the personal and environmental effects of the cumulative exposure to toxic chemicals found in soaps, lotions, deodorants, and other products we use on a daily basis.
“I was walking to class one day when I hugged a friend and suffered a severe allergic reaction to his cologne,” Fagan said. “I researched the ingredients in his product and found that it contained chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, allergies, asthma, birth defects and more. Shocked, I researched my own products, some of which were from the health food store, and found that they, too, contained chemicals associated with adverse health effects.”
Through her research, she found that the European Union bans a total of 1,373 chemicals from their cosmetics and personal care products, whereas the U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans only 11. Furthermore, the law that regulates today’s $250 billion cosmetics industry was passed in 1938 and is approximately 1.5 pages long.
documentary film student with a passion for health, the environment, and human empowerment, Malina decided to pursue this important and overlooked topic, which affects everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The response Fagan received from her 20 minute short was phenomenal and it encouraged her to expand the film into a full feature, which is currently in pre-production.
Since graduating in 2014 with a BFA in Film Production, Malina and her producing partner Lynn Pelletier have been getting a crash course in feature filmmaking.
“Apart from learning the legal/business side of things, we’ve been researching and developing the story, and have lined up the participation of some of the most distinguished experts in the fields of science and health.” says Fagan.
“It’s pretty cool when your experts are impressed by your other experts,” adds Lynn, a natural health practitioner and the co-founder of Fagan Films.
Malina received a Chapman Research Grant to conduct her key interviews in the Bay Area, and she is incredibly grateful for the experience she gained through the Dhont Family Foundation Documentary Film Center. She says she will certainly be drawing on the talent of the Chapman community to make this film and is grateful to the following for their mentorship and support:
Sally Rubin, Jeff Swimmer, Daniele Struppa, Michael Kowalski, Molly O’Brien, Dan Pavelin, Jeff Compangano, CK Magliola, and Ronda Wimmer.
Malina is currently raising funds to make
a feature length documentary, similar in quality and scope to
. To support this film and filmmaker, visit the current
or make a
tax-deductible donation here
You can follow
’s progress on