One of the largest goals for Lifetime’s original film “Flint” is to educate people about the realities of the water crisis, specifically how it could be affecting people in other areas.
During a Q&A session for the film at TCA, the actors, along with an activist who’s been on the ground fighting in the city, emphasized that just because you have clear water doesn’t mean you have clean water.
Jill Scott, who plays activist Nayyirah Shariff, said that she got her water tested years ago when she first heard about what was going on in Flint. She said she’s from an affluent section of North Philadelphia, so didn’t expect to find anything wrong with her water — especially because it was clear.
“I was very shocked so I want to share with you what I got,” she told the audience of reporters.
She said at first that during one part of the testing, the water turned a little yellow. However, at the end, she flashed a photo on her phone at the audience, which showed that the water had become a much darker brown.
“If this is my water in a fairly affluent community, imagine what the water may be like in Brooklyn or in the Bronx or in any urban environment or any environment at all,” she said. “This is a call to pay attention because as Americans, we tend to take things for granted and we shouldn’t.”
Besides the actors and the executive producer, Lifetime brought along activist Melissa Mays, who is portrayed in the film by Marin Ireland. Mays has been fighting for clean water in Flint since she noticed the physical effects it was having on her children and so was passionate when speaking about the state of the crisis today.
“We don’t anybody to… think that your water is safe just because it’s clear,” she explained.
“You hope for yellow and brown water because it’s a heads up that your water is bad, but carcinogens have no color,” she continued. “Don’t ever just assume that where you’re at — we have wealthy people in Flint and they got hit just as bad.”
The people who worked on “Flint” hope that the film will not only affect its audience in an educational sense but also in a community-driven and psychological one.
The movie follows three real-life women played by Ireland, Betsy Brandt and Scott who fought for the government to be held accountable for the poisoning of residents in Flint. Mays said that besides showing the audience that the crisis is still happening, she hopes that they’ll see how a community can come together and influence things larger than themselves.
“We want people to know that it wasn’t experts who swooped in and saved us, we did it ourselves,” she said. “We did the work, we fought, and we’re still fighting today.”
“We want to shine a spotlight on the situation,” executive producer Neil Meron said. “I think it’s incredibly timely, how people in the community can band together and inspire change.”