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Angus filmmaker who clashed with Donald Trump talks new BBC documentary Flint, trust, politics and standing up for the little guy

Angus documentary-maker Anthony baxter has secured a global sales deal for his film, Flint.
Angus documentary-maker Anthony baxter has secured a global sales deal for his film, Flint.

Montrose documentary maker Anthony Baxter, best known for clashing with Donald Trump, has returned to the US for his latest David vs Goliath tale Flint.

This time Anthony has picked up the cudgels on behalf of residents of Flint, a city in Michigan where a government-led change in supply led to “sky high” levels of lead in the drinking water. The issue continues to affect thousands of local children.

The Alec Baldwin-narrated film is broadcast on BBC Scotland on Tuesday, December 1 at 10pm and is then available on the iPlayer. Anthony worked on it for five years.

Children ‘suffered’ a high lead intake

The Angus based journalist said: “The children suffered this high intake of lead. We don’t really know how that’s going to play out.

“So I feel a responsibility to continue with the story for as long as I am around. I want to know how they’re affected by this and make sure they’re not forgotten.”

The water issue became a national scandal after scientists discovered corroded lead pipes, contaminating Flint’s new water supply.

Anthony was already covering the story when celebrity campaigners such as actor Mark Ruffalo rolled into the city.

He set up a non-profit agency water agency called Water Defense, which brought in technology to do its own research.

Anthony said: “They said to the residents they were not being given the full facts. The film follows that and it reveals how the residents were left not knowing who to trust.”

Anthony Baxter faced a four-year fight to secure a distributor for his previous film You’ve Been Trumped Too.

Still no trust in the local water

The filmmaker said the trust issues remain today.

“The local residents don’t trust the water at all. A recent survey showed a large number of residents were still using bottled water for bathing and showering.

“They would not trust the water to drink. This trust element is so crucial to all of us – especially in today’s world with Covid-19.”

Anthony won acclaim for his 2011 film documenting the battle between Aberdeenshire residents and Donald Trump over the creation of the tycoon’s Aberdeenshire golf course.

He directed and co-produced Flint with the BBC.

It debuted at the Glasgow Film Festival just before the Covid-19 pandemic. But he had to cancel scheduled premieres in Washington DC, San Francisco and Detroit due to the coronavirus crisis.

Donald Trump and Montrose filmmaker Anthony Baxter at Trump Tower, New York City in 2014.

On Trump’s election defeat

Anthony said he watched November’s US election with “great interest”.

“I’ve always felt the story of Trump coming to Scotland was a microcosm of what would  happen on a much bigger scale if Donald Trump was elected as president of the United States.

“Over a period of time, people in Scotland saw the reality of Donald Trump. He made promises that never materialised.

“If we flash back to what Donald Trump promised the American people in 2016, all the things he was claiming to deliver and has not delivered.

“I think the American people have seen that and voted for a new future,” he added.

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