Toxic Beauty, premiering at Hot Docs on April 28 , weaves together personal stories and worldclass research to expose the hard truth – women are dying, children are at risk, and unregulated chemicals, toxins and carcinogens in cosmetics and care products are making
us sick.

Still image of Boston University Medical Student, Mymy Nguyen, courtesy White Pine Pictures 2019

Watch trailer

March 19, 2019 (Toronto, ON) - From White Pine Pictures and CSA-Award-winning filmmaker, Phyllis Ellis, Toxic Beauty is a documentary feature film that knits together archival footage, personal stories, and hard-data to deconstruct doubt propagated by Big Cosmetics and Pharma, making nefarious claims that we have nothing to worry about. Toxic Beauty is one of five films featured in Hot Docs’ Big Ideas Series and will have its “Special Presentation” World Premiere at the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival on April 28 at 6:30PM at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema .

Artfully crafted by a trifecta of Canadian female talent including award-winning director Phyllis Ellis ( About Her , 2013, Girls’ Night Out , 2015), Cinematographer Iris Ng ( Making a Murderer , 2018), and Producer Barri Cohen ( Toxic Trespass , 2007), Toxic Beauty, follows a whistleblower, her lawyer, world class scientists, cancer survivors and those who have lost their lives from using cosmetics. Toxic Beauty strips a dominant pharmaceutical company of all credibility and exposes the hard truths about dangerous, unregulated chemicals, toxins and carcinogens in cosmetics and care products. The heart-stopping documentary forces us to ask: Who is the real villain, is it the $ 84 billion Cosmetic Industry using chemicals, toxins and carcinogens before they are tested? Or our governments, who have allowed this industry to regulate themselves?

One of our first interviews was with Dr. David Michaels, author of ‘ Doubt is their Productwho said something that really pushed me into this project,” says filmmaker Phyllis Ellis. “Dr. Michaels said, ‘chemicals are not like people, they are not innocent until they are proven guilty’. But it was the privilege and shock of meeting women so close to the end of their lives, dying from ovarian cancer, and the cause? Their lifetime use of a personal care products. How is this possible? We had to make the movie.”

The 2019 Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival will run April 25 to May 5, 2019. Following Hot Docs, the film will have a theatrical release across Canada.

Screenings at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival:

Sun, Apr 28 6:30 PM Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Mon, Apr 29 12:45 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Thu, May 2 5:45 PM Scotiabank Theatre, Cinema 3


Phyllis Ellis is a creator, writer, director, producer and performer in factual and scripted television and film. She was honored at the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards with the prestigious Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary for About Her , narrated by Kim Cattrall. Ellis has been nominated for 7 Gemini Awards/CSA’s with 3 wins. Most recently she was nominated for CSA Best Direction for Girls’ Night Out and her feature documentary Painted Land was nominated for the DGC’s Allan King Award in 2016. Ellis premiered two dramatic feature films at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. Ellis has produced, written and developed over 30 documentary, scripted and factual TV series, for CTV, Corus, The Scripps Network, Sundance Channel, Independent Film Channel, Vision, APTN and the CBC.


White Pine Pictures is an independent Canadian film, television, and new media production company based in Toronto, Canada. Headed by award-winning filmmaker, Peter Raymont, the company has produced over 100 films, including the Emmy award-winning feature documentary Shake Hands With The Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire , two Oscar-shortlisted features: A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman, and Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould . White Pine is also the producer of the award-winning TV drama series The Border (38 episodes), and Cracked (21 episodes) created for the CBC and sold worldwide including France, Germany, and the USA.

– 30 –


Director Phyllis Ellis is available for interviews before and during Hot Docs. Documentary subject Deane Berg is available for interviews during Hot Docs, April 25 – May 5 and between March 19 – April 24 via phone.

Phyllis Ellis, Deane Berg, Dr. Daniel Cramer, and Dr. Ami Zota will be in attendance at the World Premiere on April 28.

Media Inquiries:
Amy Saunders, AlphaPR