Project seeks to inspire others through Amelia Earhart’s story

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Chasing Earhart Project Creator Chris Williamson and Project Coordinator Vanessa Williamson interviewing Mark Hall Patton. Photo courtesy Chasing Earhart | Chris Williamson.

A project is underway to tell the story of how Amelia Earhart lived.

Chris Williamson is the creator of the Chasing Earhart Project. Williamson said his interest in Earhart goes back to third grade.

“My teacher, I remember, put up all these 8x10s all around the room of all these famous Americans and you had Martin Luther King, you had Harriet Tubman… Theodore Roosevelt, all those great Americans and then you had this woman who, at the time I had no idea who she was, it was the famous bomber jacket photo with her hands on her hips,” Williamson said. “I did a history day project on (Earhart), I just kind of fell in love with her life and the way she was and the obstacles that she overcame and just her story. Then, of course, you get this incredible 39 years of living and all the stuff that she went through and all the stuff that she did and that’s before you get to the disappearance, which is probably the juiciest disappearance of all time.”

Williamson said he did multiple school projects throughout the years and continued to have an interest in Earhart’s life. Williamson’s background is in Information Technology (IT) but about nine years ago, he started researching with the intention of doing some sort of project about Amelia Earhart. What eventually started out as a podcast project turned into also working on a documentary. Williamson said he originally didn’t want to do a documentary because there are already so many, until his wife changed his mind with one sentence.

“If you look at the documentaries, they either sway two ways, they’re either completely biased toward one hypothesis or they’re about how she died, but what if you flipped it and talk about how she lived instead.”

Williamson said the plan, because of the amount of content and interviews so far, will be to make a documentary series of 14 installments or episodes about an hour-long each. The estimated completion date for the documentary is in Fall 2019. The podcast is still a part of the project, offering in-depth discussions with the guests of the documentary.

Gary LaPook being interviewed. Photo courtesy Chasing Earhart | Chris Williamson.

Williamson said he and his wife are originally from southern California. They do a lot of traveling because of the project and traveled to Atchison, Kansas, for the Amelia Earhart Festival.

“While we were out here, my wife really fell in love with the ambiance. She has been wanting to get out of southern California for quite some time and she wanted to go to a place that you could experience all the seasons and kind of have a change in her life and we have an eight-year-old son we wanted to raise somewhere different than southern California,” Williamson said. “We were out here shooting and we fell in love with the place and decided to move out here. I think for us it’s really twofold, not only is it a personal decision but it really helps the project to be based out of Atchison, Kansas, because Atchison really is the “Mecca” of Amelia Earhart.”

Williamson said as part of the project, he and his team are putting together a Chasing Earhart discussion panel which will be July 21st at this year’s Amelia Earhart festival. The first two guests were announced Tuesday and they are Abigail ‘Astronaut Abby’ Harrison, Founder of The Mars Generation and International STEAM and Space Ambassador and Shaesta Waiz, the youngest civilian pilot to fly around the world solo in a single engine aircraft. Waiz also launched the Dreams Soar foundation which encourages young girls and young women who have an interest in the fields of aviation and STEM to pursue their dreams.

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Listen to the full interview with Chris Williamson below: