A Film On the Flint Doctor Who Exposed the Water Crisis

By Yessenia Funes May 01, 2017

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the doctor who helped expose the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, will soon be the subject of a book and movie.

Anonymous Content bought rights to a book the pediatrician has written, Deadline reported Friday (April 28). Though the manuscript is still being edited, the production company has already gathered the film’s writers and producers: Cherien Dabis (“Empire”) will write and direct the movie with Michael Sugar (“13 Reasons Why”) and Rosalie Swedlin (“Live From Baghdad”) producing.

The story will follow Hanna-Attisha’s perspective in how the lead contamination crisis unfolded in the city of 100,000. Hanna-Attisha told Deadline:

“This is not just the story of a Michigan city and its toxic water. This is a personal story of how I, as an Iraqi-American immigrant, came to be a pediatrician in Flint, and it is a story of science, medicine, justice and democracy; of how they all intersect and, ultimately, what we humans owe to each other. It is critically important to share the Flint story to spotlight that the crisis is ongoing and long-term support is still needed. My hope is that telling this story will also prevent anything like this from happening again, especially in a political environment that questions science and undermines environmental and public health protections.” 

When a friend tipped the doctor off about possible lead poisoning, she decided to test blood lead levels in her young patients. Her research found that many Flint children’s blood lead levels had doubled, and even tripled in some cases, after the city switched its drinking water source three years ago.

But when Hanna-Attisha released her findings, state and government officials dismissed and discredited her. “[The film] is a story of how Dr. Mona, dubbed an ‘unfortunate researcher,’ risked her career standing up for what was initially a local issue but that ultimately grew to have national and global implications,” Swedlin told Deadline.

Penguin Random House will publish Hanna-Attisha’s book in April 2018. A date is not yet set for the movie’s release.