Bahamas Stranding — Joint Report

From Michael Sellers

Okay. I don’t want to make too much of this but I just re-read the Ken Balcomb story which is linked in the previous post and I found it just as compelling this time as I did a few years ago when it first was published. In movie terms — Balcomb is the classic “willful protagonist” — the guy who knows what he wants and will knock down walls to make it happen. What I had forgotten was that he succeeded to the point of actually getting the Navy to admit that yes, their sonar caused the beachings and deaths. This is a minor but in some strange way emotionally satisfying victory for a guy who gave up a lot in his relentless pursuit of getting them to do this.

Anyway — here is the Joint Report put out by the Navy and the Department of Commerce and it’s groundbreaking because the Navy admits….they did it.

I have a kind of dual reaction to this …. on the one hand I find it compelling — on the other hand I feel that to be a compelling subject for a movie it really needs to resonate in some larger way. Remember the context for this — post 9/11, Navy doing exercises, America at risk …..So on one level it’s like, what are you complaining about ….killing a few whales is no big deal in comparison to saving American lives, etc, etc….On the other hand — there is this huge overarching issue of — who are we? Where do we fit in? Are we the supreme players and all else is subordinate to that? Or do we exist in a continuum that makes us part of, not apart from, the world we inhabit?

Part of what you try to do in a movie is present an argument — two sides, each compelling, but one which you ultimatley stand behind. To me this seems to offer something interesting….but the challenge is to make it resonate at a high level with issues in the post “Inconvenient Truth” world we inhabit.

And in closing — I should note. Many of you have said that you find it interesting to get a sense of what’s going on between my (our) ears as we try to figure things out. I’m encouraged by this to share with you preliminary half-formed thoughts like this. I would just caution that at this point these are just musings that are part of the process of sifting through ideas and possibilities en route to a firm decision about an approach to a story or subject matter.

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