“Just think of him as a hairy toddler,” said my new friend, Audra. I chuckled thinking about what it was going to be like interacting with a six year old chimp while trying to film a story that illustrates how generous a human heart can be.
Of course, I was excited, for a host of reasons. Having never interacted so closely with chimpanzees, I was going to see closeup the emotional lives they lead. I knewthat I was going to be engaged from the moment I began working. But it’s what you don’t know that you don’t know that gets you.
I didn’t know that I was going to learn more about what healing looks like and what happens when one of us decides that breaking is only the beginning of a powerful journey. Most of us, at one time or another, have suffered something that brings us close to losing all faith in humanity. But it is how we heal that is the mark of our character. With a lot of hard work, and some very devoted people, we will show you how one woman helps these beautiful creatures heal, and how she heals in the process. It is a story that needs telling because it tells us a lot about ourselves. It teaches us what kindness and communication can do for the broken. It teaches us what being human should look like.
Thanks to a constellation of stars achieving an unprecedented alignment, I am involved in this project. One of those stars is a man named Adam Neal Gonzalez, who, I KNEW would be perfect to capture the story on film. It took no time at all for the two of us to get emotionally invested in what Audra is doing with the chimps. I’m not going to sugar coat it and make it sound easy. The animals are beautiful and intriguing. But they are also intelligent, territorial and extraordinarily strong. We keep a respectful distance. It is only because humans are good liars that we hold dominion over these creatures. What Audra does to give them a voice through art is nothing short of beautiful.
I can’t wait to share that beauty with all of you.