Back to IndieWire

‘The Sensitives’ Examines the Misunderstood Chronic Condition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

'The Sensitives' Examines the Misunderstood Chronic Condition of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film, web series, TV pilot, what-have-you in progress — at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a project you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

The Sensitives

Logline: Families struggle to reclaim their lives from the isolation of chronic illness and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

Elevator Pitch: In Kansas, a loving grandfather is struck down by a debilitating illness with mysterious, environmental origins and faces an agonizing decision: an uncertain, unhealthy future with his family or the lure of an isolated, “safe” community built for “sensitives” like him. As his wife and daughter struggle to keep their family together, we meet others who’ve faced the same impossible choices: a mother and her adult twin sons living in self-imposed quarantine deep in the Arizona desert, as well as an activist in fragile recovery who haunts the hallways of disability conferences to build support for a misunderstood condition.

Production Team: 
Director/Cinematographer: Drew Xanthopoulos (Director of Photography on “Vultures of Tibet”)
Producer: David Hartstein (Producer on “Where Soldiers Come From”)
Consulting Producer: Andrea Meditch (Executive Producer on “Man on Wire,” “Grizzly Man,” “Buck”)
Composer: Hanan Townshend (“Tree of Life, “To the Wonder”)

About the Film: For 3+ years, I’ve driven tens of thousands of miles to meet families whose lives have been reshaped by MCS. To be as free of the chemicals in our everyday environment when filming them, I would wear their extra clothing, camp nearby, and use specific natural soaps. As someone with no prior personal connection to this illness, I wanted to get past the masks and foil-lined rooms to meet the artists, social workers, and grandparents inside. This is what I intend “The Sensitives” to show: the ordinary people driven to the fringes because of a very misunderstood condition.

Current Status: Exceeded Kickstarter goal to raise funds for post-production. With only a handful of shooting days left, we expect to have a fine cut early next year.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Toolkit and tagged

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox