On April 25, 2014, the City of Flint, Michigan changed its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. This change was forced to the local municipality by then-Governor Rick Snyder to save $ 5 million. It was a catastrophic failure that resulted in an unparalleled American public health crisis. Flint documents the mass lead poisoning of thousands on the earth’s surface from the beginning. Well-known filmmaker Anthony Baxter interviews the residents, scientists, external influencers and politicians involved over a five-year period. He will follow up in 2021 with a look at the city’s current state. Alec Baldwin tells.
Flint takes you on an annoying journey. Citizens had to organize themselves against government failure, incompetence and criminal deception. The fallout has changed their lives forever. Lead poisoning resulted in deaths, birth defects, abortions, cognitive decline in children, hair loss and skin diseases. Identifying the truth was only the beginning. Dealing without water in an economically depressed area becomes another epic tragedy. The film takes an unexpected turn as an initial hero becomes a surprising opponent.
Clapping officials and cost-saving measures
Baxter begins with footage of back-clapping officials pressing the button at the Flint waterworks. A brilliant Governor Snyder praises his cost-saving measures. Six months later, Tammy Loren notices that her children are covered in rashes and noticeably more tired. She loses lumps of hair. Melissa Mays decides to contact her neighbors. Everyone can see and smell the brown water coming from their pipes. The Flint River has been terribly polluted for a hundred years. The remaining General Motors plant issues a statement that the water is consuming their parts. Mays arranges with local church leaders to independently test the water. No one believes the government’s findings that water is safe. People get sick.
Melissa May contacts Professor Marc Edwards at Virginia Tech. He and his students try the water from the Flint River and discover alarming levels of lead. They send test kits out to over three hundred homes. The true extent of the disaster is now obvious. Corrosive elements in the river remove lead from the city pipes. Dr. Hanna-Attisha tests children who show symptoms of lead poisoning and is confused by the results. Less than two years after the change, Governor Snyder is required to declare a state of emergency. Flint returns the water collection to Lake Huron, but the damage has been done.
Response to the crisis
Flints second act deals with the response to the crisis. Frightened residents had to depend on bottled water. Governor Snyder allows only one case of water per. family every day. Baxter shows the enormous difficulty of this rationing. Older people had no opportunity to get the water. State-issued filters could not fit the pipes in many homes. Families with several children could not survive on a case of rationed water. Volunteers from across the country arrive in droves with a media storm. Class actions are initiated. Governor Snyder and his team are thrilled. Residents are demanding criminal prosecution.
The arrival of Scott Smith with non-profit Water Defense increases volatility. The group, founded by actor Mark Ruffalo, challenges the government’s claims that the water has been fixed. Baxter films Scott Smith going into the homes for air and fungus testing of the water. Marc Edwards labels him a deceiver who is not a scientist. He begins to work for Governor Snyder; causing shock and dismay in Flint. The man whom many considered an indispensable advocate was now branded a traitor. Baxter interviews Marc Edwards over the years. His support for Snyder’s claims that the lead pipes should not be replaced is flammable.
Flints last act knocks down. The debate between Marc Edwards and Scott Smith spurs further mistrust. Its conclusion leads to several conflicts between people who were originally allies. The suffering people are hit by yet another astonishing revelation from Snyder’s government. The little faith that is left evaporates completely. Flint residents wind their way through the wind with no real answer. They know that one fact is true. Stay away from the water; while still paying the highest utility bills in the country.
Baxter (You have been trumped, A dangerous game) does an excellent job of capturing the grief and desperation of the Flint water crisis. The city is a mixture of America’s problems. People are poor, mostly black, and literally can not afford to leave. A sober interview has a woman whose house is only worth $ 6 thousand dollars. Who would buy a home in a city with polluted water? Baxter visits Flint again to find a violent misery. Their situation is no longer on TV and everyone is still addicted to bottled water. Charges have been filed, but no one has spent a second in jail. Children are now being screened for prolonged lead exposure. A city that once embodied the American dream has disappeared into despair.
Flint is a production of Montrose Pictures and the BBC. It will be released in theaters on April 29, eight years after the water change, by Cargo Film and Releasing.
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