Flint: Who Can You Trust? director Anthony Baxter hopes his new documentary about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan will finally answer questions that residents have been asking for the past eight years.
Flint’s problems started back in 2014 when Governor Rick Snyder made the decision to switch Flint’s drinking water from Lake Huron to the Flint River as a cost-cutting measure. Soon after the switch, residents began reporting that their tap water was brown and that they were experiencing unexplained rashes, hair loss, and other physical ailments that they believed was the result of contaminated tap water. The documentary captures Dr. Mark Edwards of Virginia Tech’s discovery that tap water samples submitted by Flint residents contained hazardous amounts of lead due to corrosive water from the Flint River stripping the city’s pipes and allowing the lead to enter the water supply.
Narrated by Alec Baldwin, Flint: Who Can You Trust also documents the residents’ journey to be heard by their elected officials, fr and to find solutions to a crisis that is still ongoing to this day.
Anthony Baxter (You’ve Been Trumped, You’ve Been Trumped Too) has been documenting what’s going on in Flint since early 2015, before the Flint water crisis had made national news.
“A resident came up to me and said, ‘Oh, you should come through to Flint and see what’s happening with our water situation,'” Baxter told MovieMaker. “When I got there, the residents were telling me that they had been shouting from the rooftops about the quality of their water and how poor it was, and nothing had been done despite all they were protesting about. And I was very, very struck by that because it’s something I’ve followed in other films that I’ve made be — You’ve Been Trumped in Scotland where residents were appalled at something that authorities would do nothing about. And so that’s how it started.”
But Anthony Baxter hopes that the documentary will renew public interest in the story of Flint.
“What I hope is that the film will, at the very least, cast light on the story again and raise it back to the fore [front] so that people will remember what’s going on in Flint and remember the impact that this lead poisoning will have on the scores of children who consumed the water, and the impact it might have on young girls as they reach puberty and want to have children. Nobody really knows the answer to all of these questions about the long-term impact of this, this intake of toxic waste levels of lead that the people of Flint had,” Baxter said.
“The only way we’re ever really going to be able to tell that is to is to keep it in in the public domain and keep it in the public eye. And it’s very important that the resources are there for people, like children with learning difficulties, because of the gaps in their education, or the gaps that they haven’t the ability to learn through the impact that the lead had on them, and of course, all the other toxins. We need to know more about what else was in the water in Flint. We need answers to those questions.”
He also hopes that having Baldwin as a narrator will encourage more people to watch the documentary. The actor also appears at the end of the film to sit down with some Flint residents and the former mayor.
“I asked Alec whether he would narrate the film, and he agreed to because of his interest in the story. He went through the initial cut with me when we made the initial rough cut, and then after that, he said he wanted to go to Flint and meet some of the residents as well because he was so appalled by what he’d seen,” Baxter said. “So he was certainly passionate about the story.”
Flint: Who Can You Trust? hits theaters on Friday, April 29, and VOD on May 12.
Main Image: A still from Flint: Who Can You Trust?