By Valerie Milano
Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/22/17 – This fall Lifetime will dig into the Flint, Michigan water crisis, shining a light on three women who became the unlikely heroes to lead the charge in holding the local government accountable for poisoning its residents. FLINT stars Golden Globe Award winner Queen Latifah; SAG Award winner Betsy Brandt; Tony Award nominee Marin Ireland; and Grammy Award winner Jill Scott.
FLINT was discussed at a Lifetime panel held at the TCA Press Tour which took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Friday, July 28th, 2017. Present were Tanya Lopez from Lifetime along with FLINT executive producer Neil Meron; FLINT actors Betsy Brandt, Marin Ireland, and Jill Scott; and Flint resident, safe drinking water activist, and all around bad ass woman, Melissa Mays.
“The water crisis in Flint is far from over,” said Tanya Lopez. Lifetime has in fact partnered with United Way of Genesee County on a PSA to help the people of Flint.
Provided on site in uber rich and beautiful Beverly Hills were water testing kits. As Ms. Lopez said, “You never know where the next Flint will be.”
According to Neil Meron, the main goal of the show was to shine a spotlight on the crisis in Flint with hopes of effecting change. “We fought, and we are still fighting today,” said Melissa Mays.
The three women showcased in FLINT were often belittled as “housewives” when they stood up and started to speak up at town hall meetings. Ultimately, serious charges including involuntary manslaughter were filed on behalf of Flint residents poisoned by unsafe water.
“It just shakes you, because there are some things that we just should be able to count on,” said Melissa Mays. “Like clean water!”
Shockingly, scientific experts as well as city officials will lie about basic public health issues like contaminated water when enough money hangs in the balance. But the evidence of rashes, breathing problems, burning eyes, hair loss, pneumonia, and other severe health symptoms mothers and fathers see in their children each and every day will not allow them to keep silent even if they don’t have PhDs or high positions. “I am an expert, because I am living it!” exclaimed Melissa Mays.
“I think all people want anywhere is to be treated like humans,” said Betsy Brandt of public health crises such as these. The women of Flint were told NO again and again and again and again–but nevertheless, they persisted!
FLINT was inspired by a TIME Magazine article written by Josh Sanburn, who served as a consultant on the film. “It all began on a very human level,” observed Neil Meron.
“On Lifetime it really does speak to a certain strata of people that may not know this story, that will be alarmed by this story, that may call themselves into action. And it found the proper home with that. But there is an authenticity to this that we really, really tried to respect.”
The action in FLINT the television show ends after the first big victory. But, sad to say, the situation in Flint the city is still very much in play with endless battles to fight in the future.
In closing at the FLINT panel Tanya Lopez said, “I’m inspired by the actors who portrayed these women. I’m inspired by the women who are out there doing the work that we’re all happy they are doing. And I think that Lifetime is committed to telling stories about unsung heroes and about stories that call us to action. This movie couldn’t be more of a call to action and we’re incredibly proud of it. So thank you very much.” Catch FLINT when it airs on Saturday, October 28th at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.