Project Description


OUR COMMON HUMANITY:  Eight month Walkabout, in three parts, with video camera.

“Today opens an era in the history of the chase---the era of the camera.   The bold hunter shall become the humane hunter.   Compassion will be the fruit of the chase.  Thoughtful people will pursue the game with camera and notebook:  thoughts and observations and pictures will be the spoils.”

From ‘Ministry of Beauty’ (1907)
By Stanton Davis Kirkham

For almost fifty of the hundred years since Kirkham wrote those words, I have been nudged by the movie camera and movie making, toward compassion, as Kirkham predicts.

Life is excruciatingly beautiful and painful, too.  We wander through our years seeking joy that endures.  We hold it for a moment; it escapes.  Distractions, necessity and habit obscure our view. We become trapped in false starts, false promises and dead ends. Chicanery and the ill winds of fate litter our paths with insecurity and fear.  We wander often lost to ourselves.

I have experienced the joy of compassion and its partner empathy.  Movie making has been my guide in the wilderness. Through the camera and hours spent editing I have studied ‘us’. The gift, for a moment, of walking in the shoes of another human being, sustains and nurtures me.

OUR COMMON HUMANITY: Walkabout in three parts is a video/blog/movie project that intends to remind us that in spite of our vast individual differences and circumstances, at our core we humans share so much.  Power elites, pundits and politicians thrive at manipulating us to renounce our solidarity with one another.  They are few we are many.

Part one: Lockheed Martin, Conversations with Workers

Lockheed Martin Corporation (LM) is the largest weapons developer and manufacturer on the planet.  In 2011 taxpayers paid LM $38 billion, over $100 million every Day. LM is an excellent example of a successful multi-national, weapons manufacturer that has close to doubled its revenues from U.S. government contracts in 10 years.  By most all standards LM is a very well run Corporation that provides well paying jobs to over 100,000 people.

Walkabout part one, will, after the 113th congress convenes in January, take us to Sunnyvale CA, Palmdale CA and Fort Worth TX to talk to LM workers. We intend to talk with the people in the trenches, the folks who have helped build the most powerful, technologically superior, military complex in the history of the world.  In their own words we will learn about their lives and their individual roles in the U.S. defense and war effort at Lockheed Martin.

Finally we will engage them in conversations about whether they can see a way for themselves and Lockheed Martin to re-tool and redirect the awesome energy, imagination and money presently spent on war and defense, to the challenges of; energy independence, climate change, hunger, education and restoration of the natural world?

Part two:  Cuba, Island of Well being?

The quality of life achievements in Cuba since the over throw of Batista in 1958 are well known and remarkable. 

Once again as in Sunnyvale, Palmdale and Fort Worth we intend to talk to working people about their lives, their dreams for their children’s future and for Cuba itself.  We hope to visit private homes, community centers, work places and cooperatives to get a feel, a sense of daily life, of the hardships and joys, frustrations and opportunities that are contemporary Cuba.

Part three:  Mexican Trails

Walkabout part three, we hope, will begin with a boat trip from Cuba to Vera Cruz, Mexico.  It will be the same trip taken by Cortez in 1519 at the beginning of the conquest of Mexico and the Aztec empire.  In Mexico we will revisit places visited by the American Journalist, naturalist and philosopher, Stanton Davis Kirkham, during his three year stay, 1904-07.  We will draw from his book Mexican Trails and other books written by Kirkham before 1916 and in the public domain.  Kirkham eschewed ideology and philosophical labels but was influenced deeply by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.  He has been named a transcendentalist for his love of nature and belief in the possibility of human perfection. 

Kirkham was particularly interested in the indigenous people of Mexico and visited the remote villages where life had changed little from the pre Spanish occupation.  He visited Aztec ruins and ruminated about Empire and its consequences. We will follow him to some of those places.

Twenty to thirty minute episodes of WALKABOUT will be streamed from tchamberlinmovies.com for the eight month trip described above.