A Presbyterian Church USA ministry will debut a documentary film they created about the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s Story Productions will host a world premiere of their documentary, “Flint: The Poisoning of an American City,” on Thursday.
Scheduled to be held at Flint’s Capitol Theatre, the premiere will be attended by PCUSA's Stated Clerk the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II.
“When we visited the Capitol Theatre with the Flint Steering Committee, it was unanimous and clear to all of us that this is where the premiere needed to be,” director David Barnhart said in a statement. “The Capitol is such a symbol of what Flint once was but also, the resiliency of the community coming back. It is beautiful.”
Barnhart also said he believes Flint was only the most prominent example of “an urgent drinking water crisis in the U.S. that is systemic and widespread.”
“The poisoning in Flint is a warning of what happens when we deny and ignore the voice of citizens and the tragic reality that this is actually happening in our cities across the country,” he said.
In 2016, then President Barack Obama declared a federal state of emergency for Flint after years of water contamination that had led to high lead levels in drinking water.
The problem began in 2014, when the city quit using the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department as a water source that drew from the Detroit River and Lake Huron.
Local government officials decided that the city should use the Flint River as their main supply for drinking water in order to save money, which became a health risk to thousands of residents.
The state of emergency connected the water contamination to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in the area, listing it as a possible cause.
Earlier this year, 501CThree, a nonprofit that has notable celebrity partners such as Jaden Smith, teamed up with First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church of Flint to help residents gain access to cleaner water.
The partnership specifically centered on distributing a device called the Water Box, a portable system designed to filter out several types of bacteria, metals, and sediments.
Catrina Tillman, wife of the lead pastor at First Trinity who's been spearheading the project, told The Christian Post in an interview in March that the plan was to “have water boxes all across the city of Flint and in other cities as well.”
“Flint has been on the front lines of lead issues, but there are other cities as well that could utilize this filtration system,” explained Tillman at the time.