A critics’ darling at film festivals across the globe and Winner of the Excellence in Cinematography Award at Sundance, Blue Vinyl is a deeply personal and frighteningly vital exposé that has been applauded as “Funny and irreverent… one of Sundance’s best documentaries!” -Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Skeptical of her parents’ decision to “re-side” their Long Island home with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — the seemingly benign cure-all of suburbia — Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand set out with co-director Daniel B. Gold to discover the truth behind the potentially toxic effects of the material, which is used in building everything from automobiles to computers, medical equipment, and children’s toys. With a tender-hearted agenda and a piece of blue vinyl siding firmly in hand, Helfand and Gold travel to the vinyl-manufacturing capital in Louisiana, enlist the help of a “green” builder in California, and journey as far as Venice, Italy — where 31 executives from a PVC-producing company await trial for manslaughter in a landmark conspiracy case.
Unexpectedly taking twists and turns in a filmmaking pursuit that most ordinary homeowners would never dare to take, Blue Vinyl is a heartfelt, sobering, and shockingly hilarious exploration of the complex relationship between consumers and industry.
Judith Helfand has worked as a documentary producer and educator for the past ten years With veteran documentarian George Stoney, she co-produced and co-directed The Uprising of ’34, which explores “hidden” labor history, class and power in the South. It was broadcast on public television’s POV and voted one of the ten best documentaries of 1995 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Helfand used a more personal, humorous and ironic style with her next film A Healthy Baby Girl, was broadcast on POV, and won a 1997 George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence in Journalism and Public Education. Judith is co-founder of Working Films, a non-profit organization- laboratory/institute based in North Carolina that is dedicated to linking documentary filmmaking to long-term social change.
Daniel B Gold recent broadcast credits as DP include The Nazi Officer’s Wife (A&E Special, 2003), Breaking The Violence (LIFETIME Special, 2003), and a segment on the upcoming PBS series, Colonial House (sequel to the PBS series Frontier House). Prior to concentrating on documentary work, Gold’s camerawork was frequently seen on Saturday Night Live, Dateline NBC, and the Hallmark Channel. Currently, Gold is producing and co-directing Melting Planet, a toxic comedy about global warming, and Waiting to Be Sung, a film about the songwriter’s life in Nashville. He is also developing a feature documentary he will direct in Cuba with Click and Clack — the Tappet Brothers of NPR’s “Car Talk” fame.