Celebrity Interview & Review: One Peace At A Time Highlights a Global Fix-it Campaign - From Turk Pipkin and Nobility Films

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One Peace at a Time tells the story of one man’s journey as he embarks on a global search into the world’s worst problems to answer the nagging question of "Just how bad is it out there?"

One Peace at a Time, tells the story of one man’s journey as he embarks on a global search into the world’s worst problems and offers hope in the race against the clock to reverse the devastation.

Turk Pipkin, author, actor and global conscience exposes those catastrophic concerns first by heading to the front lines of the problem, detailing it and then finding the one person who saw the need and chose to make a difference.

The film has tandem themes: the first creating a sustainable earth and the second; detailing the basic rights afforded all mankind under the charter of the United Nations. We, as a generation and the next one after us, and the one after them, are charged with incorporating into our lives the patterns which will develop and create a sustainable planet.


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As One Peace at a Time begins a collage of broken pieces, the worst of times, are flashed across the screen accompanied by the iconic music of folk/rock/musician/poet/activist Bob Dylan’s Everything is Broken. By the end of the intro one comes into agreement that everything is, apparently, broken and in need of repair. This is where the solutions begin.

Pipkin moves through a series of six basic rights “guaranteed” under the United Nations including education, nutrition, shelter, health care, equal pay and clean drinking water. Each of these vignettes are introduced by children writing, the word, on a chalkboard. The film moves quickly to highlight the areas of weakness, where compromise has bowed the system and it has come precariously close to collapse.

To counter the devastating effects of the details Pipkin introduces Noble Laureates who, and this is important to add, are not all scholars in residence with the wall of degrees working for the President. They are men and women of courage who saw a need, felt the calling and moved toward the challenge knowing full well the odds were against them; they stood up and their one voice then became the voice of hope to a mass as it was joined by others.

One Peace at a Time is more than motivating; it is moving, effecting, impacting. Living in one of the wealthiest nations one has a tendency to overlook anything outside ones back door and even that is changing as our view of the world becomes smaller through the global access afforded us through the web.

 

Pipkin brings that issue home through a segment on water shortages that have and will continue to impact the western United States and specifically farmers, irrigation and essentially all of us that consume produce.  He introduces Secretary of Energy Steve Chu to the audience to suggest means of countering this devastation that is clearing on the horizon.

One will find, at minimum, one cause within this film that will churn the wheel of concern. The statistics on hunger, presently, are devastating. In the time it takes to read these ten words two children will die. Count the minutes it takes to read this article and multiply by twelve. Twelve children per minute will die. Twelve children per minute! Throughout the world, the United States included, twelve children will die of hunger every minute, everyday.

Pipkin embarks on a global tour that highlights the orphans in India where thirty million orphaned children are without families and in need of loving, caring parents and are cared for by The Miracle Foundation. Thirty million orphaned children in a system where annually only three thousand will be adopted.

In Thailand, where removing the condom taboo is an understatement as Mechai Viravaidya, known as the Condom King, has single handedly developed a family planning clinic in his Restaurant chain, Cabbages and Condoms. In Bangladesh, Micro-financing women so they can become self-sufficient; offering internet access, offering the world, to children in the streets of India. 

The CARE segment details the correlation between the world’s poverty and disease. More than physical disease CARE seeks to address the mental attitudes that include the marginalization of women and girls. Females throughout the world, including the United States are still, even in our contemporary, digital technologically advanced society, paid less than men for the same work. Seventy cents to the dollar; in developing nations women and their families live on less than one dollar per day! One dollar per day!

Clean, cold, refreshing drinking water. In Kenya, and other nations of Africa this is a luxury. Women walk six hours, round trip, to carry five gallons of water, on their backs, everyday to their villages. What they trade for drinking water? Education. There is no choice; water to survive or education to compete. A well that provides fresh drinking water fifteen minutes away: $3000.00 total cost. Start to finish.

How can one effect a change? There a so many possibilities. Implement ways to create sustainability in your community. Reduce your carbon footprint: Walk, ride a bike, take public transportation, use ethanol, bio-fuel, carpool hybrids only. Incorporate into your life one small carbon reduction. Organize your building, neighborhood, school, children’s school to recycle, reuse, stop. Wean yourself from using plastic bags for groceries. 

 

Go green: Eat green. Eat fresh local produce. Support the local farmer. Stop buying small bottles of water; find a way, be creative to incorporate one change into your life.  Support the total ban on poly-styrene. Use energy saving electric bulbs; support the creation of a well that provides drinking water in Kenya by recycling your aluminum cans. Play Free Rice and donate rice for every right answer. Sponsor a child from The Miracle Foundation. Plan and as the Condon King would say, “Use Condoms!” Stop the marginalization of women and girls.

One Peace at a Time's soundtrack features Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, The Band and others.  One Peace at a Time is worth seeing, again and again, until its truths become cemented and incorporated. Recently released on DVD, One Peace at a Time is available through Amazon.com and other online distributors including ITunes stores.


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Turk Pipkin and I spoke for some time in a recent phone interview. He is an interesting character, with a down to earth personality and a Texas drawl.

Janet Walker: Tell me how The Nobility Project came into existence?

Turk Pipkin: The Non-profit really started after we started making Nobility. We, my wife and I, Christy and I wanted to make a film that we control start to finish and there wouldn’t be any editorial comments coming from the film company or distribution company or anybody else.  We just to go look for answers, really we were just trying to answer that one question, “Just how bad is it out there?”  And, “Is it as bad as it looks?”  Somewhere in the process of filming that movie we began to realize that the mission we had started was a little bigger that we had expected. But specifically that came to fruition when I was at the Mahiga Hope High School in Kenya and committed to building a water system for that school and called up Christy and said, ‘Well, we’ve been talking about the non-profit and now we really have to have one cause we have to raise some indeterminate amount of money for this water system.’ 

So, that really was the beginning. It came out of the movie and was in many ways because of the school.

Janet Walker:  It’s an amazing film, every piece of it, every segment is masterful. What are your most memorable moments of filming One Peace at a Time.

Turk Pipkin: Wow! That’s a hard question. It’s a good one but it’s a hard one. Being in Bangladesh with Yunus, was really special. I really enjoyed him. He’s had such a enormous effect on the world. I really enjoyed that. Being in the villages was very effecting as well because people were just so wonderful. I had heard all my life, my conception of Bangladesh, had been formed so much by hearing so much about the extreme poverty there, I just was expecting something different that I found.

Of course, when I got there what I found were really beautiful wonderful people who were, for the most part doing much better than I expected them to be. They do live in pretty dire poverty but their lives are improving  and mostly because of their own efforts a lot of it focused around micro-finance. I just thought the whole trip to Bangladesh was really moving. In many ways, it’s all that way. The Ethiopia work was a glimmer of hope. The fact that I went over there once just to see and hadn’t been there for a few days and said, “Oh, we’ll do a well here and oh, we’ll do a well here.”  We ended up doing six water projects in Ethiopia which gave me a great opportunity to go back and see those and then ultimately I would say, the deepening connections to this community in Kenya has been probably has been the greatest single thing for us. I’m just back, actually, just a couple of days ago just back from Kenya again.

Janet Walker: You adopted a child in the film or sponsored a child.

Turk Pipkin:  Yes. We’re sponsoring a child with The Miracle Foundation.

Janet Walker: How is The Miracle Foundation and that situation changing? 

Turk Pipkin: It’s been great. I think The Miracle Foundation is doing very well and continuing to do really good work. I would say the only downside in that whole equation is that I’ve been too busy to get back to India. I mean, most people who sponsor kids over there are not able to go. What they do is sponsor a kid and The Miracle Foundation does provide travel opportunities for the sponsor families or for individuals who want to go meet the kids they sponsor.

But because I was going to India a lot, I was went four times in one year, I got to see Serbata, the boy we sponsor quite a few times and now, it’s been a long time since I’ve been there and I really formed this relationship and I quite miss seeing him. I know that he’s growing up and changing and getting smarter. We still send letters but I still actually miss being there and I’m not sure how I’m going to solve that problem.

Janet Walker: You broke you’re leg in the film.

Turk Pipkin: Yea. After all these years in show business, I’ve had a very long background in show business and was a comedian for many years, and I find I never tell people any more to, “Break a leg.”

When they’re going on stage. Um. You know it wasn’t good for me but I think it was good for the movie. There can’t be very many people who were filming when they broke their leg.  And in retrospect I probably shouldn’t have been in the front of the boat with the camera over the side in the middle of the Grand Canyon in some of the largest rapids in the canyon.  But retrospect is pretty easy. Anyway it was a freak accident and I could have done that many times and been fine. But it’s been a really long recovery. It’s been almost two years and I’m doing pretty well but here’s a good example, The high school in Kenya opens in July. We committed to building this high school in a year and the year is up this summer.  We open in July and I’m determined, one of the structures we’re building is the Rain Water Court, this basketball court that provides drinking water for the school, to play basketball on the opening day. To me that will mark my leg being completely recovered. But I’m not quite playing basketball yet.

Janet Walker:  I was wondering if you had any metaphorical insights arising from that accident?

Turk Pipkin: Well, it put me off eating jerk chicken forever looking at the inside of my leg bones. You know it changes your perspective on everything when you have a fairly catastrophic injury like that. I mean any of the guys I was with, they confessed to me later, they didn’t expect me to make it out. And it was a very long trip down river with a double compound fracture. And they really were doubtful that I was going to make it and I think they were more freaked out than me. I determined I was going to be fine.  I wasn’t lying in the boat worrying I was going to die, I was lying in the boat just hurting. The pain goes away; but I think in many ways unrelated to this film, in many ways if its related to this film, it related to the Wheels for Humanity section of the film which is of course, how it end up working into the film. It really took on different perspective on how hard life is for people with handicaps. It was special for me after my dad had used the chair then I used it, I wanted to see who would get it. Which is how we ended up going to Costa Rica. 

Janet Walker: When the talked about the sustainable energy or alternate forms of energy on the west coast because that’s close to home. It’s all a very global film and the energy issues, the water issues in the west coast and the water issues on the west coast are something that is closer to home. So in the time since you’ve done this project what changes have been made?

 

Turk Pipkin:Well, that’s a good question, too. The problem with dealing with water shortages and the reason and fortunate for me I chose to interview Steve Chu, because as you know, it was filmed about six months before he was named Secretary of Energy and I had the opportunity to ask, “What would you do if you were the energy king for the day.”

 

But it was really Chu and one of the reasons I went to him because I knew that water and the mid-latitudes were of big interest to him and he felt there was too much focus in the whole Climate Change debate on the Polar Icecaps when there are actually a lot of things that are effecting all of us.

Not in thirty years but right now and in the next few years and the problem with addressing these long term water problems and getting the public motivated to be aware of them is a) 99% of the people still don’t know there’s any connection between suppressed snow packs in the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada’s and climate change. And it doesn’t matter if you think the world’s getting warmer or the world isn’t getting warmer and whatever you think if climate change is real or not, the snow packs are still going down. You’re scientific opinion has nothing to do with the fact that the snow packs continue to decrease and as they decrease as the insects take away the forests by going up higher and higher as the freeze lines go up we have less and less water stored and that is the drinking and agriculture water for America.

This is the same problem that faces other countries around the world, also,  but we might as well look at America if it effects us the most. Um, this year we’ve had a little change in the weather pattern, El Nino is coming back and I think all of us, me included sometimes we confuse climate, and the long-term climate of a particular region of the world, with weather. 

We’re having a rainy year in some places and there’s a little more snow pack, it’s not going to bring Lake Mead back up and it’s not going to save the agriculture industry in California but it does sort of displace people’s concern that were running out of water and people do need to be concerned that we are running out of water especially if you’re a farmer! But all of us eat farm produce and most of it comes from California. Actually, the great majority of it. It’s a huge problem that I don’t think anybody really figured out what to do about.

 

There talking about a new canal in California which might balance out some of the water from the North to the South as they’ve been trying to do for close to a hundred years. But, it’s still not going to increase the overall water supply and truthfully what I think is going to happen is that in twenty years from now there’s going to be a lot less agriculture in California. The Nobel Laureates all tell me they’re not very good at predicting the future so I should probably take their advice and not make predictions myself.

Turk Pipkin: One other thing I like to say, the film regardless of how many tickets its sold in the box office.  I don’t know how it’s going to do with Amazon and all the other great retailers out there, ITunes store. But regardless of all that, it’s a film that built a high school. Which to me would be plenty reason to make a film. Even if it didn’t inspire people to join TEVA or decide they wanted to do something great it’s a film that built a high school. To me that would be plenty.

One Peace at a Time features Caroline Boudreaux, Mechai Viravaidya, Philip Berber, Donna Berber, Sugata Mitra, Helene Gayle, Muhammad Yunus, Cameron Sinclair, Dan Shine, Willie Nelson, Steve Goose, Steve Chu, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Lily and Katie Pipkin.

One Peace at a Time is more than poignant: It is deeply moving, a call to action! An inspiration for all! See it!"

 

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