There's Already a Movie in the Works About the Flint Water Crisis

January 10th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

The city of Flint's water crisis is still ongoing, but a movie dramatizing the infamous public health crisis is already in the works.

Young Flint resident drinking bottled water.

A viral tweet about the upcoming project draws attention to the fact it was possible to conceptualize, write, and cast a major role for the Lifetime movie before its subjects could be provided consistent access to clean water.

Viral tweet about the Flint water crisis.

The film, which lists journalist Katie Couric as a producer, stars actress Cher as a Flint resident whose family is affected by the contaminated water, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"[Making a movie] is usually something they do after the fact, as opposed to while a situation is ongoing," Flint Michigan NAACP President Frances Gilcreast told ATTN: "Any time you can conceptualize a plot, create it and we're still under the same issue, that's more like 19th Century [response] on an issue rather than the 21st Century."

Singer and actress Cher.

In 2014 and 2015, the majority of Flint residents were exposed to water contaminants, including lead, after the city switched water sources in order to save money. The switching of water sources caused the city's water delivery infrastructure to corrode, leeching contaminants into the drinking water. Minority groups and lower income people were disproportionately impacted by the crisis, as the city of Flint is nearly 57 percent black with 41 percent of the residents living below the poverty line. Several government officials are facing felony charges for alleged mishandling of the crisis.


The movie received some backlash for casting Cher, a white woman, at the center of a narrative about a majority black city, however Gilcreast said that Cher has been an ally from the early days of the crisis. She also said white and Latina women have been affected by the water crisis as well.

"Cher would not represent a majority, she is a minority in this city," said Gilcreast. "But they can get whoever they choose to draw attention to this plight we're having, and I have no complaints as long as it's done decently, accurately, and in order."

The crisis is ongoing.

Privates 1st Class Zacharry Burrell and Kyarnol Branner handing out water bottles in Flint

Michael J. Steinberg, the legal director the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, told ATTN: that he believes the water supply in Flint Michigan is still being mishandled. He said the only way to fix the ongoing crisis is for government officials to step up and deliver bottled water, replace lead pipes, and make sure the lead levels are as low as possible.


Citing a lack of resources, the state recently appealed a court order requiring it to deliver bottled water directly to residents, and then filed a motion against the decision when it lost the appeal. Steinberg said these shows a continuing disregard for the people of Flint.

"When the people complained that there was something wrong with their water, they were told to just 'relax,' he said. "Now it's resisting a court order to deliver bottled water or ensure that the filters are working."

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