with Zackary Canepari
Bronx Documentary Center
Zackary Canepari writes:
Flint is a place that no longer needs an introduction after this past year and it probably hasn’t needed one for the past 30 years. The city has long been the poster child for the American dream gone wrong. In a perfect world, this project would be conveying some other reality. But these ideas about Flint are accurate. Flint is a place of struggle. It’s true and everybody knows it. But that’s not all it is…
Flint is a place is a cross-platform episodic documentary series about Flint, Michigan. The project seeks to document a specific moment within this American city both as it’s perceived and experienced. The idea is not to show people some place that they don’t know. The idea is to put them in a place that they think they do know.
This project actually started with another project. T-Rex is a feature documentary about a teenage girl from Flint co-directed by myself and Drea Cooper. Claressa is her birth name and she’s a boxer. In fact she might be the best female boxer in the world.
Sports was Claressa’s ticket out of Flint. Not so much for her younger sister Briana. Briana represents everyone who has been stuck in Flint. Tough. Charismatic. Resilient. Funny. Heroic, in a sense. Fighting everyday. But stuck stuck stuck.
While the film is about Claressa and her resilience and grit, the web series looks deeper into Flint, with themes about community, kinship and poverty. Flint is a place gives viewers an even deeper dive into the systems and people within Flint, a place with a strong identity and deep scars.
What happens in Flint happens in many other urban American cities. But in Flint, it happens all at once. It’s what makes Flint so important in the national conversation. It’s been like a testing zone for American mismanagement. Eventually, something will have to change. Flint can’t go on like this. Better seems really far-fetched. Worse seems almost unimaginable. Crazy as it seems people will be there no matter what. Cause they’re proud. Or cause they’re stuck. Somewhere between those two facts is the reality.