One of the biggest man-made humanitarian crises in recent U.S. history — the drinking water contamination in Flint, Michigan — will be the subject of Flint, an original movie, which has been put on fast-track development at Lifetime. It hails from The Wiz Live producers Craig Zadan & Neil Meron and Sony Pictures Television.
The hard-hitting fact-based drama will examine the events that led to the “toxic crime” committed against the residents of the town of Flint, Michigan. It is looking to shed light not only on the politics and poor management that led to the poisoning of the water, but also the human element of the residents who not only suffered, but whose voices were ignored.
Zadan and Meron got the inspiration for Flint after reading Time Magazine’s February 1, 2016 cover story “The Toxic Tap” by Josh Sanburn. Their Storyline Entertainment optioned the rights to the article with Sony TV where the company has been under a deal for long-form projects for more than 20 years.
In the story, Sanburn, who will serve as consultant on the movie, features a number of Flint residents who express their anger at the governor and city officials who told them the water was safe to drink despite reports to the contrary, causing parents to unwittingly poison their children to possible life-long effects.
The Flint water crisis, which has become a political issue in the Presidential campaign, ranks among the most serious breaches involving water sources in the U.S., along with the groundwater contamination in Hinkley, Calif., exposed by activist Erin Brockovich. That case was the subject of a feature that earned star Julia Roberts an Oscar, with Flint aiming at a similar level of intensity of the storytelling.
Independent film writer/director Barbara Stepansky, a 2013 Nicholl Fellow, is writing the teleplay. Zadan and Meron are executive producing Flint, and Storyline VP Development Mark Nicholson serves as a producer.
This marks the latest movie collaboration between three-time Oscar producers Zadan & Meron and Lifetime. The duo’s previous movies at the cable network, produced by Sony TV, include the ratings record-breaking Steel Magnolias remake. At NBC, Zadan & Meron produce the live musical franchise, with Hairspray set as the next installment, following last December’s highly rated The Wiz Live!. Additionally, they are set to produce the network’s upcoming live staging of A Few Good Men.
Stepansky is repped by ICM Partners, Hertzberg Media and Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher, LLP.