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In a beleaguered city still embroiled in a long-standing water crisis and public health disaster, filmmaker Michael Moore hosted the U.S. premiere of his documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9. Greeting the audience as “friends and family,” the controversial filmmaker spoke to the importance of hosting the premiere in his hometown.
“In Flint, organized labor got its real start,” he told the packed auditorium. “This city created the middle class. There was no middle class before Flint, Michigan. It started here. This city gave us our first black mayor in the country. This city had the first open housing ordinance in the United States of America. You could’ve predicted everything about Trump if you would have paid attention to Flint.”
Previously screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and slated for release in theaters nationwide Sept. 21, Fahrenheit 11/9 depicts many Flint residents, focusing heavily on the trajectory of the water crisis. Attendees applauded frequently throughout the two-hour screening.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the whistleblower pediatrician who helped bring the water crisis to national attention, was a special guest and co-hosted a post-screening Q&A discussion with Moore.
“Flint is a part of this movie and is where Michael Moore is from — this is where he made his name with Roger & Me over 25 years ago. Flint is a part of almost all his movies,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think it’s important to put that spotlight back on Flint. Our water crisis was built on decades of crises, which Michael Moore has really brought to light in the past — disinvestment, globalization, unemployment, poverty, racism — those are issues that Flint has suffered from like so many other cities.”
The emotional hourlong talk, which included tears and laughter from audience members, concluded with Moore affirming the work of Dr. Hanna-Attisha.
“When I’m introduced on TV shows as a filmmaker and activist, I say, ‘Don’t call me an activist. I’m a citizen in a democracy. That implies I’m an activist.’ That’s what you have to be,” Moore said.
Following the screening, the filmmaker met with residents and community leaders at Blackstones Grill in downtown Flint to continue discussions about the film and the work that still needs to be done in the city.
Moore will continue his Flint tour on Sept. 11, by hosting “All in America: Michael Moore in Trump Country,” a recorded town hall event with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.
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