America is a patchwork quilt, and stories are its stitching.

In a divided age, we need those unifying stories more than ever.  In order to find them, I practice the lost art of Shunpiking — knowing when to “shun” the turnpike and get onto the back roads, where the good stories are tucked away, the ones that remind us of our best selves.

- Christian D'Andrea

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Off the beaten path.
Into the heart of things.

Inspecting the hurricane we're about to descend into
I'll go to any length to discover and showcase Americans doing their best for each other. 


Hurricane Hunters

In Gulfport, Mississippi, I discovered the home of the Air Force's extreme weather squadron—the men and women who fly into hurricanes.  They do it in order to gather the key pieces of weather data (from inside the eye) that allow meteorologists to predict landfall location and warn threatened communities.  I decided to make a documentary TV series about this group of selfless stalwarts who risk their lives to keep others safe.  So I spent two years flying into hurricanes with them, as creator/producer/director of a multi-season show on The Weather Channel.
 

In Gautier, Mississippi, I came across a biker conclave where black and white clubs do something unexpected to each other… they embrace.  It's an exhibition of American brotherhood that's surprising to some, but normal for these folks in MS.  So I shined a light on it with a short film, which went on to win some awards and air on PBS. 
 

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Touching the Dragon
I wrote this book about war, hell, and surviving trauma with Jimmy Hatch.  Our objective: tell a story that can help save lives—by proving to people who've suffered trauma that there is no stigma in opening up about their pain. 
Published by Knopf and Vintage. 

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Survivor Cadres
A new way to disrupt suicide and save lives.

We noticed that Touching the Dragon—which shares the story of a suicide survivor—was saving lives.  So I'm amplifying that effect with a 501(c)3 that lifts the voices of Survivors and gathers them together in cadres, where they can talk candidly about their struggles and what worked. These Survivor Cadres become trusted lifelines, drawing sufferers out of isolation and giving them the confidence to admit their pain—an admission that saves lives. 
 

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