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Cherien Dabis to Helm Film About Flint Researcher Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Cherien Dabis: Dusdin Condren/

You’re most likely familiar with the Flint, Michigan water crisis, but you may not know about Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician whose research concluded that a generation of Flint children had come into contact with high levels of lead. “Amreeka” director Cherien Dabis’ next film will tell Hanna-Attisha’s story, Deadline reports.

Anonymous Content has optioned Hanna-Attisha’s book and life rights, with plans for Dabis to write, direct, and produce a feature film. The as-yet untitled book is “a dramatic first-hand account of the crisis that has inspired global outrage because underprivileged children were harmed due to scandalous neglect and indifference by bureaucrats,” the source writes.

“This is not just the story of a Michigan city and its toxic water,” explained Hanna-Attish, who is usually referred to as Dr. Mona. “This 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.”

According to Dabis, she felt a connection to Hanna-Attisha from the moment she first heard about the pediatrician. “Like Dr. Mona, my father is a pediatrician. Because of him, I’ve always had a keen interest in public health and medicine,” she said. “When I read about Dr. Mona and the incredible work she’s done to expose the water crisis and her crusade on behalf of the people of Flint, it hit me on a deep and personal level.”

Hanna-Attish’s book will be published April 2018. Anonymous Content’s Rosalie Swedlin (“Live From Baghdad”) and Michael Sugar (“Spotlight”) are attached to produce the film alongside Dabis.

Dabis made her feature directorial debut in 2009 with “Amreeka,” a film about a Christian Palestinian woman raising her son in a small Indiana town. It won the Fipresci Prize at Cannes in 2009. Among Dabis’ other directing credits are “May in the Summer” and episodes of “The D Word” and “Empire.” She serves as producer on the latter and on “Quantico.”

In an interview with Women and Hollywood, Dabis stressed that “it can be really, really tough” for women trying to break into the business. “I think you just have to approach it from many different angles. You have to have so many balls in the air at the same time, and it can be really exhausting, but I think that tenacity and persistence are some of the most important things,” she said. “There are so many ways to get discouraged, but you just can’t allow yourself go there. You just have to always rise up and keep going.”

Cherien Dabis to Helm Film About Flint Researcher Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Julie Goldman's Big Gay Romantic Comedy

Comic Julie Goldman is blazing some new trails. The star of Logo's The Big Gay Sketch Show has recently relocated from New York to Los Angeles, started her own fashion blog, and has co-written a new lesbian romantic comedy, Nicest Thing, which she is currently developing for the big screen.

Goldman has been a fixture on the New York comedy scene and has already made memorable appearances in a slew of short and feature films, including Big Dreams in Little Hope, Out At the Wedding, Happy Birthday, and The D Word. When she's not busy being a television and movie star, Goldman is performing stand up comedy across the U.S., for which she has won the 2007 Mac award for Headlining Comedian in NYC and the New Now Next Award for Brink of Fame Comic in 2008.

We recently caught up with Goldman to talk about what she did last summer,
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Out director Cherien Dabis brings Arab Americans to the screen

Being Arabic in America has been tough for a while now, but post-September 11 America brought out a lot of racism disguised as patriotism and this theme is nothing new. America goes to war with a country (or a region), and (some) of its citizens and leaders seem to forget there are Americans from that country, too.

Someone who knows this all too well is director Cherien Dabis.

The openly gay Dabis, who was raised in Ohio by a Jordanian mother and Palestinian father, experienced the sudden shift in how she and her family were treated first hand, during the Gulf War. Now, Dabis, who also penned a few L Word episodes, has released a film tackling the issue head-on, and it has already received a boatload of critical acclaim.

Her film, Amreeka, tells the story of a Palestinian single mother who flees the West Bank for a small Illinois town with her teenage son,
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