When you meet other independent filmmakers, you know you are in the company of like minds – people who do things for the love and not the money, who often work very hard, and when it comes to their own projects, work for free. When making our teaser trailer for our film, Crew 713, we had the pleasure of working with Daniel Montoya and his partner, Elizabeth Hong, who exemplified these traits, as well as being lovely people.
Daniel kindly helped us with the editing and some graphics on the trailer. We got to talking about their previous work, and it turns out they had been working on a project that was very close to my heart, well, more like close to my mouth. Their film is Mercury Undercover, a documentary about the use of the extremely poisonous substance – mercury – in fillings. Daniel and Elizabeth found case studies of those that have been affected, dentists and conservationists who show what a horrific effect this chemical has on the body and the environment. What is scary is that dentists have known about its harmful effects for over 100 years, and yet it is still the most common type of filling. The documentary is well made, with great graphics and animation that will really make you think about what dentists are putting in your mouth.
The reason this is especially resonates with me, is more personal. When I was in my first year of university I started to have symptoms that were similar to Crohn’s disease – specifically oral Crohn’s. Anyone who knows about this particularly nasty disease will know it’s not pleasant and affects all parts of your life. Apart from an inflamed gut, one of my main symptoms was swelling in my mouth, which, to be fair, made me look like I had had my lips pumped with something that shouldn’t have been there. Considering people pay to look like that, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. But as the symptoms continued, a bright doctor considered doing an allergy test. The contents of my fridge and some odd chemicals were put on my arms and back and monitored over 5 days. At the end of the 5 days, the doctor made an unprofessional squeal when they saw my back. I didn’t see it, but apparently it was pretty bad. That was where the tiniest bit of mercury had been. Turns out, just like everyone on the planet, mercury is really bad for me. And because I have a sweet tooth like a child, I had a mouth full of it. The fillings were taken out and replaced by shiny white ones, which was a complicated procedure, as they had to protect any mercury from going into my gut. It took 3 or 4 sessions with gauze over my throat for nearly 3 hours, but almost instantaneously my Crohn’s symptoms disappeared and, unfortunately, my lovely big lips.
Crazy but true. I highly recommend you find out about the way mercury fillings may affect you. And you can see a film by some great local filmmakers.