The China Study – The Movie

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Film Synopsis

Growing up on a small dairy farm in the 1930s, young Colin Campbell was drawn to the science of nutrition. He fully supported the beliefs of the time, which put animal-based proteins such as meat and milk at the top of the list of required foods Americans ate each day, and in the case of milk, drank at every meal. Working unprotected as a researcher in the toxicology department at MIT in 1963, Campbell was attempting to isolate a mystery additive in animal feed that was killing of chickens when he was unknowingly exposed to one of the most fatal doses of poison ever recorded. In 1968, he ironically conducted an experiment that exposed rats to a different kind of “poison” – it was a diet containing 20% casein (the main protein in milk).

The rats all developed liver cancer, while rats fed a diet of 5% casein never developed liver cancer. Colin further discovered that high levels of plant-based protein did not stimulate cancer. In 1970 his mother-in-law died a painful cancer death after a lifetime of eating cheap junk food and Colin dedicated his life to learning more about cancer and its connection to food. Two years later, across the world, the Chinese Vice-Premiere Zhou Enlai was diagnosed with cancer. Before he died he ordered the largest survey in history to determine how Chinese people died – and where they lived. Chinese Dr. Junshi Chen carried the jaw dropping pictorial atlas produced by this report to the United States. He was one of the first scientists to be allowed to work in the USA in the late 1970s.

When he shared it with Dr. Campbell they knew that diet was connected with disease – but they had to prove it in the field. Within a year they conducted the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition in history with 60,000 participants in China. They were joined by one of the top statisticians in the world Richard Peto (now Sir Richard Peto) of Oxford University. When their findings were published in 1990, “The China Study” identified no less than 94,000 correlations between diet and disease. In the end, everything pointed in one direction: A whole food plant-based diet, along with very little animal food, was always associated with a lower mortality of certain types of cancer (mainly bowel, colon, stomach and liver), stroke and all coronary heart disease.

By now, Dr. Campbell was one of the most respected nutritional biochemists in the world, and served on prestigious national scientific committees. But while he was getting national attention from People magazine, the New York Times and scientific journals, he was dying as the very poison he was exposed to in the early 60’s (Dioxin), took its toll. He couldn’t talk anymore and could barely swallow. After eating a plant-based diet and taking a few trips to a special fasting clinic, he miraculously regained his health. However, his scientific findings began drawing attention from powerful special interests such as the meat and dairy industries. They began a dirty campaign to discredit not only Dr. Campbell’s findings, but also Colin himself. Their growing influence in academia and their manipulation of once publically funded nutrition research ratcheted up the pressure.

By the year 2000, Dr. Campbell was virtually isolated within academia. So at his wife’s urging, he wrote a book exposing to the public all his peer-reviewed and publicly funded research.Titled “The China Study”, the book became a worldwide bestseller. Translated into dozens of languages, more than two million copies have been sold. The China Study is considered the most influential book ever written on diet and disease. Now the subject of one of the most influential documentaries of all time, 2011’s “Forks Over Knives” (estimated 25 million views on Netflix, etc), and also featured in a subsequent film, “PlantPure Nation,” Dr. Campbell is a speaker in demand worldwide, and is finally celebrated for his findings. He was right all along. The principle Dr. Campbell now fights for is “academic freedom” which allows a professor to express findings and opinions without fear of retribution. Due to agriculture and food industry pressure, fewer and fewer professors are allowed this basic freedom.

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Film Logline

This a biopic film about the Steve Jobs of health, the Albert Einstein of nutrition, T. Colin Campbell.  He continues to save thousands of people’s lives by changing the way they eat. It is a powerful and inspiring example of how a man started everything we know today in regards to the most sustainable and most healthful way of eating.  He has illustrated through his own life experience how perseverance and search for truth, despite many attempting to stop his work, the relationship between animal protein and common metabolic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases among others. 

The viewer will follow the most important moments of Colin’s life through his childhood, his romantic and family life in parallel with his extraordinary career and academic journey arriving to the point where after winning all the skeptic prejudgements, and all the obstacles he found in front of him, he was able to start up the greatest movement in the last decade.  This movement today has a financial value of hundreds of trillion of dollars showed in the spurred of plant-based and vegan business restaurants, documentaries, magazines, spas, and natural wellness centers. T. Colin Campbell has become the symbol of how a new society can create prosperity and progress by saving lives instead of harming them, as it often happens with the corporate-based products.

Who is the main character: T. Colin Campbell

For more than 40 years, T. Colin Campbell, PhD, has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His legacy, the China Study, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr. T. Colin Campbell is the author of the bestselling book, The China Study, the New York Times bestseller Whole, and The Low-Carb Fraud and the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. He has received more than 70 grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding and authored more than 300 research papers. The China Study was the culmination of a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. Dr. Colin Campbell has been invited to give the leading keynote to one of the more prominent investment firms on Wall Street, describing his ‘thirty thousand foot view’ of our western troubled world of health, and from a group of young politicians at the European Parliament to talk about a Sustainable Food Chain.


Screenplay Structure and Treatment



1.(9) In 1969, Colin was being noticed for his work. He received his first government research funding. His initial study focused on the role of dietary protein and a few other factors on the enzyme responsible for activation of aflatoxin, a potent carcinogenic chemical, and other chemical carcinogens, as a means to understand the cancer process itself. The first block of funds came from the National Institute of Environmental Sciences of the National Institute of Health (NIH), which were interested in how toxic chemicals work. At this time, no less than 70% of biomedical research was supported by public funding. Colin’s ongoing project would ultimately encompass dozens of successful studies funded by the National Cancer Institute of NIH, lasting for the next 27 years (one of the longest continuously-funded series of studies in the history of the NIH). The findings from these studies were the scientific bedrock that Colin used as the basis for building his revolutionary conclusions about the science of nutritional biochemistry. We see Colin isn’t some fringe pseudoscientist peddling quack theories based on a few random observations, but a real, world-class, mainstream scientist who based his ideas on careful, step by step research. By this time, Colin’s dioxin poisoning symptoms had progressed to include a condition called chloracne, which included the growth of painful polyps in the sinuses. These had to be treated by cauterization—a procedure in which the polyps were literally burned away with a heated surgical instrument. In 1970, their fourth son was born.

2. (10) In 1970, Colin’s wife Karen’s mom Mary dies at age 51. Karen describes the experience: “She always had trouble with weight ’cause in those days, gosh, you’d eat all this junk food… it’s cheap! You never heard anything about nutrition… She had problems with constipation, and I think she saw some blood in her stools. And she went to the doctor, she told him the problems. Because she had no money or health insurance, he didn’t do any tests, or anything. He told her I think at one point, to go and take some ex-lax; to help her bowels move… And then probably 6 months or maybe later than that she went back to the doctor and was just feeling really bad. And finally this time, they checked her out and they said it was colon cancer; and they put her in the hospital but she died that spring. So she had about one year where she was trying to get some medical attention, and she didn’t get it.” Mary’s death has a profound effect on Colin. He himself is getting sicker from his exposure to dioxin, and now Colin suspects Mary’s terrible diet consisting mainly of junk food was to blame. Colin and Karen now have four children. Colin thinks about them and the foods they are eating as they grow. He decides to dedicate his life to learning more about cancer, and his feeling that food has more to do with poor health than anyone wants to admit.

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Flash Back

3. Colin Campbell was raised on his family’s farm milking cows, his Dad (an immigrant from Northern Ireland) makes a living selling the milk from just 20-25 cows – Mother Nature’s perfect food. Though barely educated, his father was a passionate believer in all his children getting the best education possible. In the British tradition, as the eldest child, Colin was given lots of authority and responsibility for his siblings. This created friction, and occasionally Colin had to be punished for the misdeeds of his brothers. Colin’s father was secretary of the local farmer’s association but could hardly write, so he’d come home after meetings and recite the proceedings from memory to Colin, who would write them down.

4. As a teenager: “We had a car to drive around in and stuff like this and go out and raise hell in a way. And my dad never said what time we [he and his younger brother] had to be back. He said, ‘I only got one rule. You be back here in the morning at 4:30 to milk the cows.’ I remember some of those occasions coming back and having to milk the God darn cows when we’d been out carousing, and we’d literally fall asleep leaning against the cows.”

5. Colin gets a chance to go to college first at Penn State (*an aptitude test he took at Penn State determined he was best suited to be either a farmer, or a doctor). He then transferred to the University of Georgia, studying to be a veterinarian. After one year at Georgia, he finally is offered a full scholarship to come to Cornell as a graduate student. At the time, Colin estimates that at least 90% of grad students went into academia partly because it was the ideal world where scientists could explore and mostly speak freely. The mechanism that allows this is “academic freedom”. This allows a professor to express findings and opinions without fear of official retribution. Academic freedom was so widely accepted as the norm, it was almost taken for granted. Located in upstate New York, Cornell was founded in 1865 as an agricultural college. Nearly a century later, it stays true to its roots by remaining a center for agricultural research, including raising livestock. It has its own farm off campus where students study the latest scientific methods for growing crops, raising cattle, and operating a dairy farm. The surrounding countryside is still dotted with dairy and other farms. Given his background, this is familiar territory for Colin. He even gets his doctoral degree by testing an additive to animal feed that was hoped would boost protein production in certain animals.

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6. In college Colin gravitates toward nutrition and bio-chemistry. He has a masterful gift for memory, statistics and detail. He learns what all Americans were being told at the time. The “four major food groups” had long been established and government nutritional standards were calling for every American to drink no less than three glasses of milk everyday for calcium, and a large portion of meat for protein. Animal-based protein was considered the “King of nutrients”. In 1839 when protein was first discovered it was called the stuff of civilization itself, essentially. Got its name from the Greek word that means “of prime importance.” We learn that after some wrangling the USDA got the job to set human dietary guidelines, but the USDA was originally formed by President Lincoln as an agency to help farmers. Giving them the job to set nutritional guidelines was an obvious conflict of interest.

7. On Sept. 1, 1962, Colin marries his beautiful wife Karen. While they were courting, he got to know Karen’s mother, Mary. She was quiet and shy, but deeply committed to her children, Karen and her five brothers.

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8. Between 1963 and 1965, Colin worked as a researcher in the toxicology department at MIT. At the time, a mystery additive was being used in animal feed and seemed to be killing lots of chickens, so Colin was given the job was to isolate the substance in the additive that was toxic. “At the end of two and a half years, I isolated something that was the most toxic substance ever before found. Out of a five-gallon drum, for example, seven-tenths of a milligram of stuff accounted for most of this toxicity. My paper on it was published in ’66. At the time, the chemical was known as ‘chick edema factor’. Then, in 1968, I learned it was an ingredient in the stuff that was being used in Vietnam to defoliate the forests, called Agent Orange.” At that time, government chemists, who had discovered the chemical structure of the toxic compound in Agent Orange, gave it the name dioxin. These scientists had been unaware of Colin’s earlier paper because he was using a different name for the chemical, but they quickly discovered the connection. In the two and a half years Colin was working to isolate this deadly poison, he never wore any special breathing apparatus, nor was his work area equipped with any protective ventilation gear. Even while still at MIT, Colin began to experience a series of troubling side effects. The first were severe migraine headaches and bleeding sinuses. These side effects would escalate over the ensuing years until they actually threatened his life. Also, in 1964 his first son was born.

9. In 1965, Colin was recruited to be an assistant professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition by the head of the department, Dr. Charles Engel, who was one of the most respected Nutritional Biochemists in the country. At the time, malnutrition was ravaging the poorer nations of the world – especially among children. A typical example; in Haiti, 54% of children died before age 5, mainly from malnutrition. Most experts believed this was due to a lack of protein in these poorer people’s diets—especially of so-called “high quality” animal protein (as opposed to “low quality” plant protein). For farmers raising animals for food, faster growth was a great benefit – thus “high quality”. At the time, Colin was firmly on the protein bandwagon. In 1966, his daughter was born.

Back to the present

10. In 1967, Dr. Engel made Colin his chief associate for a key program funded by the U.S. State Department to find a way to eliminate malnutrition in the Philippines. The initial idea was to increase the consumption of “high quality” animal protein among poor Filipinos, especially children, an idea that Colin supported 100%. The team soon switched their focus to increasing the consumption of peanuts, mainly because peanuts were not only a good source of protein, but were also far more affordable for poor Filipinos. Peanuts grew well almost everywhere, making them not only a potential solution to malnutrition in the Philippines, but perhaps worldwide. In 1968, while working in the Philippines, Colin made two key discoveries that would help to completely change his views on nutrition. The first one centered on the more affluent families in the Philippines, who were eating relatively high amounts of animal-based foods. But at the same time they were the ones most likely to have children who were susceptible to getting liver cancer. This was very unusual since liver cancers are mainly found in adults. Shortly afterward, Dr. Campbell came across a scientific paper published in a little-known Indian medical journal. It detailed work that had been done on a population of experimental rats testing the effect of protein on the development of liver cancer. They used two different levels of protein, 20% of total calories, and 5%. Twenty percent turned on cancer, five percent turned it off. The protein they used was casein—the main protein found in milk…and therefore one of the so-called “high quality” animal proteins. This Indian paper, together with what Dr. Campbell had learned about increased liver cancers in children eating animal-based foods, combined to create a decisive moment in his work—and his life. As he put it: “Because we learned that animal protein was really good at turning on cancer.” In 1967, Karen and Colin added a second son to their family.



11. We cut to a completely different story on the other side of the world: The Forbidden City in the Chinese capital city of Beijing. In 1974, another cancer case motivated a similar desire to understand the causes of the disease. In that year, Chinese Premier Zhao Enlai (the man who led the Chinese Revolution in 1949 alongside Chairman Mao), was hospitalized with bladder cancer. Knowing that his disease was terminal, he decides his legacy project will be to give his country a more complete understanding of cancer. Premier Zhao initiates what would become the largest scientific study in the history of mankind – a truly astounding project that only the Chinese could accomplish. 650,000 (thousand!) researchers catalogue the mortality patterns caused by several types of cancer for the years between 1973 and 1975. The study encompasses every county in China, and over 880 million people. It would take years to complete…


12. Meanwhile, Colin’s star continues to rise in the world of biochemistry. After 10 years at Virginia Tech and earning early tenure in his fourth year, he was recruited by Cornell University to a tenured full professorship at 40 years of age. Tenure, is widely considered to be the cornerstone of academic freedom. The overwhelming majority of professors must work at an institution for at least seven years before earning tenure. At the time, 70% of faculty were either tenured or in tenure track positions. So Colin’s immediate grant of tenure is extremely rare in academia. His lab-based experimental research project begun at Virginia and funded by NIH was transferred to Cornell. The first project undertaken by Colin at Cornell was intended to confirm the finding of the Indian paper he had discovered in the Philippines in 1968. Many scientists had doubts about that paper’s findings, and Colin himself had concerns about this most unusual finding of the Indian lab that increased consumption of this animal based protein increased cancer. Even the Indian researchers themselves were inclined to ignore their own finding. Colin, therefore, wanted to replicate the experiment applying the rigorous criteria of top-tier scientific standards.


13. Colin replicated the findings of the Indian paper even more fully. But he wasn’t satisfied. But this time, instead of keeping his test rats on the same diet throughout the study, he switched their diets back and forth—between five and twenty percent dairy protein (casein), doing so at three week intervals. The results were astonishing. Whenever the rats were fed twenty percent casein, early liver tumor growth exploded. But when the rats were given five percent casein—tumor growth actually went down. Said Campbell: “We could turn on and turn off cancer growth just by adjusting the level of intake of that protein.”

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14. Due to Colin’s simultaneous work in the field of how certain enzymes effect the development of cancer once a test subject is exposed to a known cancer inducing chemical—called a carcinogen (in this case it was aflatoxin, among the world’s most potent carcinogens), Colin began to receive national attention in scientific circles. His papers were widely published in top-tier scientific journals; he also was asked to sit on prestigious national scientific committees. His reputation was literally skyrocketing. At the same time Colin (or another character) considers a painful irony – the fact that Colin was exposed to a carcinogen and was suffering from the results, while he is doing the same thing to rats.

15. As a continuation of his studies on animal protein stimulating cancer growth, Colin decided to test “plant proteins” as well. Astonishingly, he discovered that a twenty percent diet of plant proteins from soy beans and wheat did not promote cancer. Though not as well-known as his studies with experimental rats fed a diet of casein, this finding was hugely It proved conclusively that excessive levels of plant protein did not stimulate cancer growth; excessive levels of animal protein was the sole culprit. This became—and remains—a cornerstone of the evidence in favor of a whole foods plant based diet (WFPBD). In 1978, his fifth and last child was born.

16. By the early 1980s, after 15 years of continuous NIH funded studies, Colin had published close to 100 scientific papers. All of them were carefully reviewed by panels of scientists in his field (this process is known as “peer review”), and published in many of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals. He was becoming (or had become) one of the top scientists in his field. PEOPLE MAGAZINE even did a multi-page profile on him and his family, as Colin and his wife Karen began to dial back the animal based foods they were feeding to their five children. The magazine reporter is astonished a family can survive, even thrive, without a daily diet of animal products such as milk, meat and cheese products.

17. At the time, Colin had just run for president of the American Institute of Nutrition. He easily won the vote, as reported by an observer of the election, but before the results were announced, the Society’s leadership, beholden to the animal foods industry and suspicious of Dr. Campbell’s early results on animal protein, had the results nullified. About two weeks later, these same Institute leaders then began an effort to have Colin thrown out of the organization. It was the first time in the 65 year history of the Institute that an attempt had been made to expel a member.

18. Back in Beijing, China, in the early 1980s, a new regime was beginning to reach out to the West. As part of that effort, a government panel first interviews, then chooses, Dr. Junshi Chen, a member of the Chinese Institute of Food and Nutrition Science, to visit the USA. He was among the first senior scientists from China to make such a visit. Dr. Chen came to Cornell to confer with Dr. Colin Campbell, who by now had become one of the most distinguished nutritional biochemists in the world. While sharing data with Colin, Dr Chen shows him the results of the gigantic study of cancer mortality that Zhao Enlai had commissioned in 1974. Published in 1981, it was called the “Cancer Atlas.” For Colin, the discovery of the Chinese Cancer Atlas was a critical turning point – one of the most significant in his career. He and Junshi Chen discuss what they are seeing: Map after map shows a highly unusual geographical distribution of different types of cancer in China – which tended to be clustered in certain “hot spots”. The same was true with cancer after cancer. And the counties with the highest levels were often far greater than counties with the lowest levels—up to 400 times higher with esophageal cancer. While in the United States, regional differences in cancer rates topped out at twofold at most. Furthermore, the large differences in Chinese cancer rates could not be based on genetic differences in the local populations because 87% of those sampled were Han Chinese, meaning they were virtually the same genetically. So some other factor or factors had to be the reason! Both Dr. Campbell and Dr. Chen suspect that diet and nutrition might be the hidden culprit. To test their theory, Campbell and Chen decide to do a study in China – one that would become the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. It would come to be known simply as “The China Study”.

19.Due to the enormous amount of data they planned to collect, Campbell and Chen both knew that they would require the collaboration of a world-class statistician. At the time, Richard Peto (now Sir Richard) of Oxford University was considered one of the top statisticians in the world. He was a protégé of Sir Richard Doll, the statistician who first demonstrated the correlation between smoking and lung cancer in the early 1960s. After a meeting with Dr. Campbell, Englishman Peto signs onto the project.

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20. The design of the China Study, again funded by NIH with additional support from China and England, was thorough and complex. The project would consider 367 diet and health-related variables, making it one of the most ambitious nutritional studies ever conceived. Dr. Campbell and his associates carefully chose 65 counties that contained 130 villages scattered across China. The information collected would then be compared that with the data that the Chinese had previously obtained for how much disease occurred for all these different counties. These counties were mainly located in rural, or semi-rural areas because residency in these places was highly stable, with most people having lived in the same village for at least twenty to thirty years. More than two hundred and fifty Chinese investigators were trained. Between 1982 and 1983 they carefully surveyed the diet and lifestyle of 6,500 people in the chosen counties. Urine and blood samples were also taken. In 1983, Doctors Campbell and Chen and Sir Richard Peto and their collaborators began to analyze the vast amount of information that had been collected. The job would take years.

21. In the meantime, Dr. Campbell had been a member of a prominent National Academy of Sciences expert science panel that was asked by the U.S. Senate to review the science on the relationship between nutrition and cancer. That report was published in 1982. Said Campbell, “In that report, we summarized the relationship between various nutrients and cancer. For the purpose of making a presentable discussion, we had a chapter on protein, a chapter on fat, a chapter on calories. Looking back, it was okay to do it that way, but it tended to suggest to the reader that we’re talking about one nutrient at a time…We made it clear in our executive summary that this information was about consuming these nutrients in a holistic form by eating the vegetables and fruits and grains that contained the relevant nutrients. We made it clear that this was not related to the specific content of individual nutrients…

22. After this expert panel report was published and widely reported to the public, “some newly emerging vitamin companies twisted our findings to say that we were reporting that individual nutrients, given as supplements, were good. Beta carotene’s good, Vitamin C is good, this and that. They arrogantly lied about what we concluded.” Dr. Campbell actually spent 3 years intermittently testifying before the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of the National Academy of Sciences to challenge the supplement industry that they were misrepresenting the facts of the report. They hit back hard. In Dr. Campbell’s words: “Their lawyer, Robert Ullman, (possible composite character—lobbyist for supplement and agribusiness) was very aggressive. He was representing the industry and he was really pounding away at me…once telling me when the judge was not watching that I was a son-of-a-bitch. He was trying his best to rattle me. In 1985, the FTC judge decided in favor of Colin. But despite the facts, in the court of public opinion the supplement industry won – and big. Today, no less than 68% of Americans take some form of vitamin or nutrient supplement. The cost? A staggering $32 billion dollars a year. Says Campbell, “It’s the height of foolishness. It’s the height of insanity. The biggest effect that vitamin supplements have is creating expensive urine.”

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23. This issue of supplements encapsulates what is perhaps Dr. Campbell’s most profound belief about nutrition. In his own words: “There’s been a lot of confusion in nutrition because we’ve used the wrong model for understanding this phenomenon. We’ve used the reductionist model. We think that nutrition is attributed to individual nutrients. That’s the way it gets marketed and that’s the way the companies tell us, so forth. And it’s not the right model. When, in fact, nutrition, all of it working together to create this symphony, the hundreds of thousands of different kinds of chemicals in food, all kind of working together nicely. The body, at any nanosecond in time, is deciding on how much of each of these nutrients that it takes from that buffet to digest, absorb and metabolize. It determines when and where to send it, how to dispose of it. The system is infinitely complex but its default position is to operate as a beautiful symphony. The body is choosing all the time what to take. That’s a wholistic concept, that’s not a reductionist concept.” This emphasis on wholism is a major reason Dr. Campbell refers to the diet he recommends as a “whole foods plant based diet.” Colin is credited with first coining the phrase “plant based diet”.

24. We cut to another side of the world: the United Kingdom – Oxford University in 1985. Colin is working with Peto and his associate, Jill Boreham, as they begin tabulating and analyzing the overwhelming amount of data collected in China. While at Oxford, he also decides to concern himself with the history of diet and cancer to see wherefrom and why the hostility to these ideas come. He is alone in an old Oxford library reading room when he begins to read the dusted off papers… to his amazement, Colin learns that scientists and doctors have long suspected a connection between meat and too much protein and cancer, with evidence going back at least 200 years. In fact, one of the prominent exponents of this idea (and author of at least one of the books Colin reads), is believed to be a direct ancestor of Dr. Campbell’s. Colin notes how many of these authors’ works were rejected throughout history.

25. By 1989, Colin’s dioxin poisoning side effects had worsened to an alarming stage. His speech became slurred and extremely difficult. By now, he had consulted nearly 80 doctors, including some of the most famous specialists in the world. The news was not good. As Colin remembers, “One of them said I would be not speaking in another year. That was the head of the neurology department at Cornell Med School. The other one at Columbia Presbyterian, who had some experience with this kind of condition, just told me the best thing he could do was to show me how to use a penknife to put it into my trachea to do a self-tracheotomy. Because he said I’d probably end up choking to death. Or committing suicide. So the prognosis was not very good, to say the least.”

  26. The year is 1990. Following nearly a decade of intense effort, Dr. Campbell and his colleagues finally published a 896-page monograph of the results of their research survey in rural China. It identified no less than 94 thousand correlations between diet and disease. Of these, between 8-9 thousand were found to be ‘statistically significant’. Although correlations do not mean causation, when a significant number of qualified correlations are pointing in the same direction, it is likely to be true if we know that these cause-effect associations are biologically sensible. Thousands of detailed tables and charts were included in the study. Each one presented the raw data that were collected. Then, this information was cross-referenced in multiple ways to demonstrate its reliability, and to show how it linked with the 367 diet and lifestyle variables the study examined. But in the end, everything pointed in one direction: A whole plant food diet based mainly on cereal grains, vegetables and fruits, along with very little animal food, was always associated with a lower mortality of certain types of cancer (mainly bowel, stomach and liver), stroke and all coronary heart disease.

27. In an article published in 1990, the New York Times called The China Study “the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease”. For Dr. Campbell, he finally had large scale data on people, and it was remarkably consistent with his earlier discoveries in the laboratory. Together, he found that the scientific evidence was clear: whole, plant-based foods were beneficial to human health, while animal-based foods were not.

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28. Colin also discovers a study done by a distinguished Harvard researcher, that shows dairy actually weakens our bones- the exact opposite of what the dairy industry has been claiming for years. One of the primary mechanisms for this is that animal protein tends to create an acid-like condition in the body called metabolic acidosis. To combat this condition, the body draws upon its most readily available acid buffer—namely calcium in our bones. As the calcium is extracted to neutralize the excess acid, our bones are weakened.

29. In the same year the New York Time’s glowing review of the China Study came out (1990) the increasing effects of Dr. Campbell’s dioxin poisoning 25 years before, in particular his now extreme difficulty with speaking, came to a dramatic turning point. As he describes it: “When the New York Times article came out on “The China Study,” that was causing news, and here I’m not halfway able to speak.” In fact, because of this, on two occasions he had to stop completely only part way through his public presentation. “It was tough throughout because I was so anxious to tell people what we learned and I was thinking that I would never get that chance. One group, the Natural Hygiene Society, which is a group of alternative doctors– they were holding a meeting and they wanted to me to come down and be the keynote, and I told the guy who called me, “I can’t do this. I just can’t talk.” He said, “What’s wrong with you?” So I started to tell him what the problem was. “I can’t speak, really.” So he said, “Well, come on down.” He said, “We have a few hundred doctors there of a different kind. I think they’d like to see what the problem is.” So I finally conceded. I said, “Okay. I’ll come down.” Because I had been to doctors all over the place, from England to China to every place else, and so I went down, and they saw my struggle with this problem, and about 10 of them got together after the talk and took me to this room, and sort of looked at me and said, “We’ve got something for you.”

30. We see Colin at a Santa Rosa, California Fasting clinic. Colin describes his experience: “So they sent me, at their expense to a place in California to do a so-called water only fast.” A water fast is a naturalistic way of treating chronic diseases and disorders by eating no food for a period of days while at the same time drinking copious amounts of water. The clinic is run by Dr. Alan Goldhamer. “So I went there and I just told him I had been tested for the levels of that compound in my body, and it still was, like, 800 times higher than the maximum amount allowed. This was 25 years after I’d left the lab. So I went to do the fast and with a lot of skepticism. I even told Alan Goldhamer, I said, ‘I don’t believe in what you’re doing.’ I was there for 12 days.” We see Colin go through the troughs of fasting. For many people this time can be extremely emotional and spiritual. Some fasters can literally smell the foods they ate months earlier in their perspiration as the fat cells dissolve inside their bodies. By day ten many people come out of fasting changed people. Colin was no exception.

31. A year later Colin’s symptoms are still present. Colin describes: “I didn’t think I’d gained much, to be honest about it. Karen thought I was a little bit better, but they said, ‘You have to do it again.’ So I went back a year later (1991) and did it for 10 days, and then not long after that, all of a sudden, things started clearing up.” In fact, within 3-5 months, Colin’s speech began to become easier. “For me, that was quite significant, in a sense, in my career. Because here, ‘The China Study’s’ coming out at the same time, causing quite a lot of excitement. It obviously was a bit of an off the track kind of observation that we’re eating the wrong food, and at the same time I’m having this personal problem, in this professional setting they came together. So it was a lesson. I was learning what it was like to be within the temple of science, so to speak, and doing all the right things, and then at the same time, having both these personal and professional experiences on the outside of the temple. It really caused me to start thinking, so that experience for me was significant because it kind of introduced me to the idea of, “Look, this is different. This is a challenge to the system,” and not all of these alternative approaches, like the water fast, should be immediately dismissed just because they are challenging the system. So I really learned something from that.”

32. In another positive effect from the publicity surrounding the China Study, Dr. C is contacted by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who—through his own research—had reached the same conclusions as Dr. C. He even employed a WFPBD to arrest—and even reverse—advanced coronary heart disease in a cohort of patients that had been considered to be “terminally ill” by their cardiologists. Dr. C also came in contact with Dr. John McDougall and Dr. Dean Ornish, who were both on the same track—both having reached the same conclusion—like Dr. Esselstyn—by their own research and observations. Dr. Campbell is happy to find he is not alone!

Mood Board


33. Despite having over 300 peer-reviewed papers published, no other scientist or researcher wants to repeat the results of his studies and papers, all pointing to a plant-based diet as a means to thwart cancer and prevent & reverse almost all chronic diseases. Still, criticisms of Colin and his research grow. Critics seize and elaborate on the correlation vs. causation argument and the rail against the definition and limits of an epidemiological study. At the same time at Cornell and elsewhere many college researchers are accepting grants for “research” from pharmaceutical, dairy and meat companies. These same interests are paying for buildings on campuses and feeding faculties a steady stream of research dollars…

34. After being a lead scientist and securing millions of taxpayer dollars in research grants for Cornell’s nutritional sciences division, Dr. Campbell’s honest research puts him at odds with key administrators of his own university. Dr. XYZ became the new head of Colin’s division of nutritional sciences at Cornell. By now, he had become a major consultant to the dairy industry. Somewhat later, in a blatant violation of academic freedom, Dr. XYZ arbitrarily cancelled a popular nutrition course taught by Colin. This is only one of the many times when pressure from the corporate world was brought to bear to silence Colin, or to get him fired.

35. The last bastion of the first amendment in a free society is on college campuses where tenured professors have the academic freedom to seek and discuss the truths they discover without fear of losing their jobs. Says Colin, “academic freedom is the stuff of a free society.” But Colin and others are becoming increasingly aware, and concerned, by the fact that public funding of universities is shrinking, while corporate funding (from agribusinesses, the dairy and meat industries, etc.) is growing at an alarming rate. Indeed, a report issued in in 2010, found that only 30% of the research done on college campuses was funded by the public, with 70% coming from private industry. In 1970, these percentages were reversed. Says Colin, “universities are becoming corporatized in this country.” This is tainting the supposedly unprejudiced research coming from our universities with a heavy dose of corporate bias. Another critical factor is that today, 70% percent of the teaching faculty at universities are on non-tenure track positions. This contrasts starkly with the 70% of faculty who were either tenured or in tenure track positions when Colin first became a professor at Cornell. This means that these non-tenure track faculty, in Colin’s words, “ can be fired tomorrow if they don’t say the right thing.” And even those 30% percent of professors who are on a tenure track are severely restrained. “They’re only on the track. So they have to play the game, too because if they don’t, they’re not going to get their tenure. For Colin and others, these developments threaten the very core of one of the most important freedoms we have in America, the freedom of thought. “We’re losing what academia is all about in this country. Now, those of us who are full, tenured professors are the only ones left who can do the shouting.” For Colin, this is more than tragic—it’s a direct threat to the public interest—and the public’s welfare. Indeed, it’s among the most dire, and least publicized, issues we face today.

36. Campbell also witnesses serious corporate influence over research that is used to develop the government’s nutrition policy, including the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. The granting of money for research—the engine that causes change and challenges the system—has traditionally been controlled by peers, people from the ranks of tenured and/or secure faculty. Colin was very active in this process for many years, being one of those peers. It was their job to screen and prioritize the applications for funding. All the scientists involved this process held positions OUTSIDE of the funding agency, and so were unbiased in making grants and evaluating the results of research.  Colin was also deeply involved in many bureaucratic and financial issues surrounding this practice, both protecting the system but also encouraging those who thought outside of the box. But by now, things had changed, for the worse. Says Colin, “In more recent years, I have seen more and more corporate money coming in to support these activities. And more and more people being allowed on the committees, especially the chairs of the committee, with corporate ties. It’s not the way it should be”. Once considered the top scientist in his field, Dr. Campbell served on numerous scientific and government, often as the chairperson. But those opportunities came to a halt. Today, Dr. C is even a pariah on the Cornell campus, where he still holds the prestigious position of Professor Emeritus.

Mood Board

37. By the year 2000, ten years after the China Study was published to such acclaim, Dr. C was virtually isolated within academia, with no way to get his message to a wider public audience. Attacked by enemies from all sides, agribusiness, the vitamin supplement industry (reappearance of attorney-supplement lobbyist Robert Ullman, Colin’s inquisitor during the FTC hearings), academic proponents of meat and dairy consumption, the USDA and others in government, he’s nearing the end of his rope. He looks at his 300 peer-reviewed, publicly funded research papers tucked away in books on a shelf literally gathering dust – area if ever being seen by the public.  Colin seems fated to be isolated and dismissed as an eccentric quack instead of a real scientist with a critically important message. He keeps talking about taking his case directly to the public, but never does; that is until his wife Karen gets so exasperated she sits him down and says, “just write a darn book Colin!”

38. So in that same year (2000) Colin and his son theater major Tom start writing a book that not only explains the findings of the China Study, but of all Colin’s lab research, research that was paid for by American taxpayers who Dr. Campbell felt ought to know the results of experiments they had paid for. He also included the results obtained by colleagues such as Drs. Esselstyn and McDougall.

39. Then came the search for a publisher. As Dr. C remembers, “We went to 11 publishers as I said, and some of them were big names, like Random House and some of the others that I didn’t even know that well at the time, and we got more or less the same message: ‘We want the book to include recipes, take out the rest of it, that kind of stuff.’ ‘We don’t want your book unless you add lots of pictures,’ kind of thing. So then we went to a small publisher, this fellow in Texas, who was just then starting his business. He was willing to take more risk, and he just basically said ‘We can do what we want.’” But will it work? Will laypeople take the time to read a long book with statistics and scientific charts and nutrition? The publisher rolls the dice…

40. The book, called “The China Study” (not Colin’s choice as only a small part of it covers Colin’s actual China Study from the 1980s), was published in 2005. After a slow start, it becomes a worldwide bestseller based largely on word-of-mouth. Now translated into dozens of languages (including Chinese), nearly two million copies have been sold! The book energizes people from all walks of life and is considered the most influential book ever written on diet and disease. Doctors and patients alike are profoundly affected by its message. Millions of people have changed their diets and posted their stories of transformation online.

41. Colin is vindicated, the Word Health Organization now says processed meats cause cancer, the new USDA dietary guideline hints at a path for people to eat a “whole food plant-based” diet in January 2016. Colin’s term “plant based diet” is now part of the English lexicon. The USDA still tells us what we should eat everyday though their recommended daily allowances. But even though they still recommend meat consumption everyday, they finally allowed that all nutrition needs can come from plants, if the consumer chooses that path. Don’t wait to hear about the plant based diet on the news or on a TV series. But you can learn a lot on the internet, seemingly the last place where there are still no gate keepers… millions of people are sharing the best kept secret, and are giving testimony, sharing their before and after pictures, and helping others save their own lives, by sharing their tales on-line…

42. Even if still today some medical academic journals financed by the same big corporations continue to ignore the brilliant research that is saving lives.  Colin is invited to the European Parliament and many  prestigious events worldwide including Wall Street, where he has been invited to speak about the state of healthcare in the United States, about his book, his talent, and his unbelievable inspiring career.  In addition, a team of researchers has come up with skyrocketing numbers of how profitable his research is for the economy. Ever since people discovered the health benefits of this science-based research, the whole community such as vegan, plant-based, and healthy restaurants, clinics, nutritional program companies, magazines, documentaries have generated several billion of dollars back into the worldwide market. Now a speaker in demand worldwide, Colin Campbell is finally celebrated for his findings, but the resistance is even more steadfast – too much money and influence – people realize they need to take matters, and their own health, into their own hands. He was right all along. But the powers that be are digging in their heels. The fight to get the truth to the public continues.


Cast proposals

Most of the following actors are vegan


T. Colin Campbell – Today

Robert Redford

Michael Caine

James Cromwell

Kevin Spacey



T. Colin Campbell in his 20’s, 30’s, 40’s

Casey Affleck

Tobey Maguire

Joaquin Phoenix

Woody Harrelson

Leonardo DiCaprio


T. Colin Campbell’s wife – Karen Campbell

Shirley MacLaine

Judi Dench


(The following crew and production team are being contacted and attached to the project with their approval, even without any fund attached at the moment. They will be officially in the crew and production team, as soon as the project gets financed

Production – Crew


Script Development and Writers

Christoper Brian Halvorson  – Michele Lastella – John Corry – Lee Fulkerson – Jenny Dome


Production Team

Nelson Campbell – Michele Lastella


Funding Finders


Sustainable Media  – T. Colin Campbell – Nelson Campbell


Sustainable Media


Benny Phang


Celebrities and Media Supporting

Center of Nutrition Studies – Cornell University – PlantPure Nation – Naked Food Magazine – Sustainable Media – Forks Over Knives – James Cameron – Samuel L. Jackson – John A. McDougall – Moby – Caldwell Esselstyn –  Michael Greger – Neal Barnard – Eating You Alive – Cowspiracy – Be4Eat – Marion Nestle – The Veggie Channel  – Chef AJ – Lindsay Nixon – Juliana Hever and all the worldwide Whole Food Plant Based community.




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