The Poisoned City
Directed and Produced by Eunice Chiweshe Goldstein
When the people of Flint, Michigan, turned on their faucets in April 2014, the water was poisoned. Through a chain of tragic decisions, the state switched Flint’s water source to aging, lead-filled pipes. City officials dismissed complaints: the residents of Flint—a predominantly poor African American community —were not seen as credible.
After 18 months of activism, and only after twelve people died and Flint’s children suffered irreparable harm, the state admitted the water was toxic. The long battle for accountability and a humane response to this man-made disaster have only just begun.
LeeAnn spent months collecting water bottle samples to demonstrate the water’s progressive deterioration, only to be dismissed by the City as a “liar.” Yolanda’s floors, sink and toilet and corroded over time from water exposure. Mark, an environmental engineer, and Miguel, an EPA employee, collaborated with LeeAnn, proving her concerns accurate. Miguel’s boss became enraged, apologized to Flint’s Mayor, and ordered Miguel to cease communications with Flint’s residents. This represents only a glimpse of the characters and their complex stories.
The Poisoned City recounts an epic failure told by the people who suffered, caused it, and exposed it. Though it’s the story of Flint, it could be any American city. Exposed by poor planning, indifference and the erosion of democracy, cities like Flint are doomed to fail—and for the people who reside there, the consequences may be mortal.
This project is fiscally sponsored by Film Independent.