In 1958, four Quaker peace activists set sail for the Marshall Islands – the US nuclear testing zone –to call attention to the devastating effects of the bomb on people and the environment. When the crew was arrested and jailed in Hawaii, public outcry for their release sparked a movement that led to the signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963. Sixty years later, Veterans for Peace has restored this historic wooden boat and embarked on a global mission to end the arms race.
Interview with Director James Knight
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I've lived my life as a peace activist and filmmaker. Some of my most profound experiences in these fields have been with U.S. war veterans, hearing their stories and perspectives. When I was approached by producer Wendy Rogan to make a film for Veterans for Peace, I jumped at the chance. Then, hearing the amazing story of the historic peace boat that sailed into a nuclear bomb zone, and the new mission of the boat set out by Veterans for Peace, I knew it would make an exciting and inspiring film.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
This film is both educational and inspirational. Many people do not understand anymore the incredible danger and expense of the U.S. nuclear arms race. Our film brings both the historical and modern toll of this arms race back into focus through an exciting story, with hopeful and provocative news of actions and progress being made right now.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The personal stories of war veterans and brave activists are set against the universal threat of war and nuclear weapons.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The script was defined by the original story of the Golden Rule sailboat, from its mission in 1958, and the personal stories of the veterans of war who crew the boat today.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Feedback has been very positive from our audiences. People are moved by the story and inspired to take action.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I have been surprised by how popular the film has been in festivals. The nuclear arms race is not a "hot topic" today but perhaps it is becoming one again. The dramatic story of the sailboat helps bring out the issues and make them accessible.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
The goal of this film and of all our outreach is to make the topic of nuclear disarmament mainstream again and inspire people to get involved in the issue.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
It would be very helpful to get press and reviews of the film to raise the profile. The more festivals we are in the greater our outreach, so festival directors are always a good target. When the festival year is over for us we very much hope to reach cable programmers and distributors to give the film a presence on high profile film sites and distribution to colleges and social action networks.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
The best impact we could have with this film would be to inspire others to get actively involved in the issue of nuclear disarmament. The recent UN vote by the vast majority of nations in the world to abolish nuclear weapons is an historic and hopeful sign that the world is ready to end the threat of nuclear war. With a sufficient upswell of activism we could reach that tipping point.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
If the expense and terrible threat of nuclear weapons are necessary for the safety of our country, why do the safest, most peaceful and most prosperous nations in the world choose to not develop, stockpile or deploy them?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
All our energy is behind supporting the festival tour of Making Waves: Rebirth of the Golden Rule right now!
Interview: September 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Making Waves: Rebirth of the Golden Rule
A little boat with a big mission.
Director: James Knight
Producer: Wendy Rogan
Writer: James Knight
About the writer, director and producer:
WENDY ROGAN (producer) is a lifelong activist and organizer against nuclear weapons, and this is her first film. She brought together all the people and resources for production.
JAMES KNIGHT (director) As a filmmaker James Knight has been connecting his peace activism to filmmaking for decades. This project is a particularly satisfying expression of that.
Key cast: Helen Jaccard, The Veterans for Peace Golden Rule Project Manager Gerry Condon, President, Veterans for Peace Wil Van Natta, skipper of the Golden Rule
Looking for: always looking for a good review, a good festival or distribution to new places and markets.
Facebook: Golden Rule film
Funders: LUSH Cosmetics
Made in association with: Veterans for Peace and Caneyhead Pictures
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? Making Waves: Rebirth of the Golden Rule will be showing in the Guam International Film Festival and the Awareness Film Festival (Los Angeles) at the end of September. In October it will be in the Santa Cruz International Film Festival October 7th at 2:30pm, at the Seattle Social Justice Film Festival Saturday the 14th and in the Friday Harbor Film Festival on San Juan Island, WA the 26th-28th