Lead and Copper
Directed by William Hart
Co-Produced by Alex Olsen and Patrick Letterii
Lead and Copper is a real-life mystery-horror ﬁlm set in Flint, Michigan, where disturbing systemic corruption triggered one of the worst public health disasters in American history. Long before the Flint water crisis became national news in 2014, the region had already suffered decades of economic hardship. The crisis just made hard times worse: untreated river water began corroding Flint’s lead pipes, slowly poisoning tens of thousands of families throughout the city. The community was – at ﬁrst – left completely in the dark about the real and present danger looming underground.
As time passed, residents experienced a wave of horriﬁc symptoms, including rashes, hair loss, aching muscles and joints, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Concerned citizens looked for answers from the authorities. But the powers that be – the politicians who were entrusted to protect the people of Flint – were woefully unprepared and incapable of curtailing the budding tragedy. What’s more, the authorities were actively denying the scope of the crisis.
Armed with immutable scientiﬁc data gathered by some of their own, the people of Flint continued to demand answers – as the national news media stormed this once-quiet city. Ultimately, the shocking truth was revealed: the people of Flint were victims of deliberate neglect by those at the highest levels of state government.
Today, awareness of the crisis spans across the U.S., though few realize the people of Flint still have no resolution. The long-term effects of lead poisoning are permanent, and in some cases irreversible, especially among the children who have experienced brain development and nervous system problems. Flint is THE canary in a coal mine. Unless adequate resources and policies are put in place, cities across America can – and will – suffer the same tragic fate. It’s only a matter of time.
The film is fiscally sponsored by the International Documentary Association.