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Posts from April2010

Seattle, Leading The World Once Again

Posted by Leonard on April, 29, 2010

This past Saturday,  I was fortunate to film a series of interviews with an incredible handful of people.  At the conference Compassionate Seattle, It’s Up To Us, The City of Seattle became the first city in the world to affirm The Charter for Compassion.  Keynoting the conference was Karen Armstrong, who was  awarded the 2008 TED prize of $100,000 that granted her one wish.  She used the prize, money and exposure to work toward promoting The Charter for Compassion around the world. In her words, “All the great traditions are saying the same thing in much the same way, despite their surface differences.” They each have in common, she says, an emphasis on the transcendent importance of compassion, as epitomized in the so-called Golden Rule: Do not do to others what you would not have done to you.

Thanks to a connection from my friend Sheri Herndon, I was able to work as a freelance cameraman for the day with Odyssey Networks, a video production company out of New York City that’s the largest interfaith media company in America. They are actively developing a mobile phone application that will share videos about compassion, interfaith dialogue, religion, spirituality, meditation, prayer and much more. Their goal is that people will be able to enjoy short videos of world thought leaders as they ride buses, wait on line at the supermarket, or wherever they may be.

Over the course of the day, as speakers came off stage, we filmed interviews in various parts of The Center for Spiritual Living campus.  Interviews included the self described Interfaith Amigos – a rabbi, imam and priest who travel the country together promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding, with Richard Conlin, the Seattle City Council president on hand to sign the charter, James O’Dea (the former Executive Director of Amnesty International), the boy who stood next to Barack Obama as he signed the Health Care Reform Bill (a Seattleite from the Rainier Valley!), Karen Armstrong, Courtney Martin (The Secret Society of Creative Philanthropy), and various reverends, authors, and activists.

They each talked about their understanding of the concept of compassion, their motivations and experiences with conflict and therapy and peace and love and community.  Very positive stuff.  What I particularly appreciated was the spectrum of experience, and the way in which each of them talked about the work they did, in terms of where they saw change coming from, and the greatest obstacles to worldwide policy initiation toward greater compassion.

It was a great day. Made me proud to be a Seattleite.  All of Odyssey Network’s content is open source so stay tuned, I’ll be posting as many of the interviews as possible as they become available.

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New Video for Network for Business Innovation & Sustainability, a Seattle nonprofit is live

Posted by Leonard on April, 29, 2010

I was happy to recently roll out this new video for the By-Product Synergy Northwest group, a project of the Seattle nonprofit Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability. Through my work with Cedar Grove Composting, their education coordinator had connecting me with a workshop that the group was putting on at Seattle City Hall that was attended by about 70 local participants, an interesting mix of people from government (The Washington Department of Ecology, Seattle Public Utilities and King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Solid Waste Division), the nonprofit environmental sector (Pollution Prevention Resource Center), and regional green business leaders from major industrial manufacturers (LaFarge Cement, Shell Puget Sound Refinery, & Sellen Construction Company) to other local businesses (Canyon Creek Cabinet Company, Cascade Designs, Grays Harbor Paper Company).  The focus on the meeting and the group in general is on turning waste into profit, and through the group and the larger networks of the organization creating the connections through forums and events that help to facilitate that. A handful of companies presented on how they’ve managed it within their own businesses. There was even a presentation from the Washington State Department of Corrections and how they’re turning waste into profit not just through programs that do things like recycling mattresses by extracting the reusable wood and metal in the frames and other materials, but through gardening and other employment training programs aimed at reducing recidivism.

Other businesses and organizations in the group include US Business Council for Sustainable Development, King County Department of Public Health, Impact Washington (formerly Washington Manufacturing Services) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

I was excited to show how a video like this can make an event come to life online, in a way that still pictures and words simply can’t. With a video, folks who have an interest in the event but wonder whether it’ll be worth their time or not can get a real sense of what’s going on here, and see and hear the testimonials of the participants. Plus, I’ve been helping to educate the group about how to share the file with their members on their blogs and website to give the piece further exposure in attracting more members to the community. Based on what’s being said here, it’s clear this group is an effective place for networking and connecting both for learning around these issues and for business. It’s my hope to make some new connections with this community so that they can begin using video as a tool to share with their customers and community the green choices that they’re making in their businesses.

Networking for Business Innovation & Sustainability presents By-Products Synergy Northwest from Pangeality Productions on Vimeo.

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Pangeality Productions nominated for 2 Emmy Awards

Posted by Leonard on April, 21, 2010

I was totally stoked to learn tonight that Pangeality Productions has been nominated for 2 regional Emmy’s by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  The regional chapter includes WA, OR, MT, ID, and AK. Of the 2 stories, which I coproduced with Penny LeGate and were part of a 3 part series connecting Seattle and Nepal for The Seattle Channel, the Little Lama story was nominated in the Human Interest category, and the Bhutanese Refugee story was nominated in the History/Cultural category.  Really excited for this.  The awards ceremony is June 5th at Snoqualmie Casino with the full red carper and everything.  Click here to see the whole list of nominees.

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Excellent Wednesday

Posted by Leonard on April, 21, 2010

I spent the bulk of the day filming the GoGreen 2010 conference at the Hyatt downtown yesterday, then in the evening had 4th row seats on the first base line courtesy of Cedar Grove to watch our new composting video on the jumbotron during the Earth Day game.  It was an awesome day.  From world leaders in sustainability of both global corporations and small local businesses, to mad networking with all kinds of great folks, Go Green was a success.  Pangeality Productions had cameras in the main ballroom where the plenary and larger sessions were and in the other conference room where additional sessions were held throughout the day.  We also had a booth with a monitor screening pangeatice visuals and pieces I’d produced on the green business front scrolling through all day.  Made lots of connections with local green businesses and topped the night off with awesome seats at Safeco with my wife, brother and his baseball crazy 7 year old son.

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Sponsoring & Filming Go Green 2010- Cultivating Sustainable Business Conference in Seattle

Posted by Leonard on April, 20, 2010

On Wednesday, April 21st Pangeality Productions is both sponsoring and filming the entire Go Green 2010 Sustainable Business Conference at the Seattle Hyatt Hotel in downtown. It promises to be a great gathering with a wide spectrum of both presenters and attendees, and a wide coalition of sponsorship from local community and environmental organizations, as well as city agencies and local businesses. After the conference, we’ll edit and package the videos to be available with a password to conference attendees on the conference website. Pangeality Productions will also have a booth in the vending area to share and connect with conference attendees and ideally connect with local green businesses and industries ready to use the power of video to share their products and services with the world. Looking forward to it.

Printing new Pangeality Prodcutions banner for conference booth

The new banner drying at the print shop

The new banner drying at the print shop

Printing new Pangeality Prodcutions banner for conference booth
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TED conference comes to Seattle with TEDxSEA, and excellent it was

Posted by Leonard on April, 16, 2010

Today I had the pleasure of participating in the Seattle satellite version of the TED conference.  Hosted in the IMAX theater at the Pacific Science Center by the MCDM (Masters in Communication and Digital Media) at UW, the day included 13, 18 minute presentations on a variety of incredible topics from The Evolution of Storytelling to Harnessing the Global Power of the Mobile Phone for good, not just marketing and advertising. From Why More Women Don’t Become Computer Scientists to donating One Day’s Wages.  I loved the inspiration, the variety, the networking, the creativity, the globality, the technology, and the intellectual and community engagement.

Some of my favorite parts included:

An analysis of how much is to much? in reference to the saturation of information.  One of the metaphors that Greg Bear, a science fiction writer who gave the talk used was the bee community metaphor of bees going out into the field on their own and doing their thing,  then coming back to the hive to share, but how in the current mediasphere there is too much resorting to only doing the sharing, and that there’s less and less of the going out into the world part. Today people are posting every breath they take and thought they have.  As a science fiction writer much of his analysis had a hyperbolic techno society vision vibe in which basically the inside of your eyelids if not just the inside of your eyeglasses will eventually be screens, but I appreciated the general comparison.

The ‘Everyone Needs a Safe Place to Save‘ talk was also very impressive, about the lack of access to banking in the poorer parts of the world.  The Gates Foundation is working to harness the power of mobile phones globally, since even many poor people have phones,and their problem is nowhere to put their money, if not in animals, hidden, loaned out, or elsewhere, and that if a mechanism existed for depositing and saving even cents daily, that that savings would lead to actual wealth accrual.  So now people can walk into a rural market or business, give their money to the business, and the business immediately uses the phone #, acct # and pin to deposit the money in their acct and the store takes a small percentage.  Apparently over 40 million mobile phone users have begun using the technology in Kenya only 3 years into the technology existing there. Very cool. There were actually 2 talks about the power of cell phones. The other was with David Edelstein and Fiona Lee, and they argued the mobile phone as a great playing field leveler and tool of overcoming information poverty, as the cell phone transforms as something you use with your ear to something you use equally with your eyes, with applications in health, agriculture, and beyond as online information becomes available to folks based on very elementary search terms.

In Sapna Cheryan’s talk about ‘Stereotypes as Gatekeepers’, where certain professions like computer sciences repel women from entering the field because of the images of who those people are, one of the more powerful points involved the google image results for  ‘nurse’  in pointing out these gender identifications and who we perceive to be capable of or likely to fill a certain role.

Eugene Cho challenged us to consider how we love the ideas of community, compassion, and justice, but where that love goes when that love requires us to act and sacrifices to be made.  His young ngo One Day’s Wages invited people to consider what 1 day of their wages really is and to donate that to the organization in support of the ‘many many small NGOs doing great work out there that you’ve never ever heard of before’.

TEDxSEA logo

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Lecture & Film Screening at Wallingford Worldwide Books & Maps

Posted by Leonard on April, 14, 2010

On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of screening 4 of my films and giving a short talk at Wallingford Worldwide Books and Maps in Seattle. I showed the 3 films I produced last year for The Seattle Channel connecting Seattle and Nepal and one short piece about tea shop culture in Nepal. There was a crowd of about 25 folks, most over 50 years old and about half of whom had been to Nepal before. 3 of the films were about Dispelling the Stigma of Disability in Nepal, A young Tibetan boy who left his family in Seattle to be raised as a future lama and spiritual leader, and one about Bhutanese Refugees being resettled in Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

Delivering presentation @ Worldwide Books & Maps

I spoke about how the stories came about, the stages of production and actually telling these stories, and the trip overall. The dialogue went great, and people seemed moved by the variety and depth of the stories. As I stood in back of the crowd watching along with them, I was impressed and proud at the quality of the stories and the variety of issues they dealt with. Being in a travel bookstore, it was the perfect mix of tourism and sharing of a destination with folks in a socio-cultural investigation that asks one to look at their understanding of both cultures. WWB&M holds similar lectures every Tuesday night.

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Talking Compost w/ Mariners Fans at Opening Day @ Safeco Field

Posted by Leonard on April, 13, 2010

Yesterday I spent the day down at Safeco Field for the Seattle Mariner’s opening day with my client Cedar Grove Composting.  Cedar Grove is taking all of the thousands of pounds of food scraps left behind at the ballpark, and instead of them going to a landfill, turning them into compost that’ll then be used among other things in the planters and landscaping around the ball park.  Unfortunately not on the field which would be the ultimate application but in the flowers and trees surrounding the park which is pretty great.  And not only the foodscraps and green waste, but Cedar Grove provides many of the food trays and napkins, and even corn based plastic cups and utensils at the snack bars throughout the park. And in addition to Safeco Field, Cedar Grove has similar partnerships with The Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field, The Washington Convention Center, The University of Washington and over 2,000+ other businesses and event facilities around Puget Sound. Very impressive, a great client who I’m excited about continuing to work with and share with Seattle this leadership in large scale urban sustainability practices. At Safeco, I was actually following around 2 guys in meat and banana costumes asking Mariners fans about their own understanding of compost and how they felt about knowing the Mariners were leaders in Major League Baseball environmental practices. When you consider how many millions of people go to baseball games across America every year and the impact it could have if similar practices were implememnted at other ball parks. That would be hundreds of millions of tons of material diverted from landfills and turned into a healthy byproduct that would otherwise have been waste.

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Funk, Soul, Gospel & R&B w/ Pete Levin of Moon Palace Revival

Posted by Leonard on April, 6, 2010

Though many of my friends are excellent musicians, one of them has always been at the very top, touring the world with a handful of different bands. My man Pete Levin has spent the past 2 years on the road with The Blind Boys of Alabama playing some of the most prestigious stages and festivals. Pete’s new project that he’s leading is called Moon Palace Revival and is a melange of funk, soul, R&B and gospel jams, a collection of originals and classic covers. Back in November, I spent a few days in the Moon Palace Studio with him in Brooklyn filming for his EPK and the album which his label Reap and Sow Records is in the process of bringing out. I made a short documentary about Pete and his evolution as an artist, and there are a variety of individual shorts of him playing various instruments, talking about his artistic process, and lots more on his YouTube channel. The site is about to drop so stay tuned and enjoy the videos for now.

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Honkfest West 2010 is Upon Us – Marching Bands Descend on Seattle This Weekend to Rock The House

Posted by Leonard on April, 5, 2010

This weekend Seattle will play host to Honkfest West, the 3rd annual festival of acoustic, mobile street bands from across North America. Over 20 bands are coming to Seattle from across the U.S. and Canada to rock the house. Friday night there’ll be a block party in Fremont where I’ll be projecting global pangeatic images onto the Fremont Outdoor Cinema screen. Saturday afternoon the party moves to the Central District, Saturday night Honkfest will close down Airport Way and rock Georgetown, and Sunday there’ll be multiple stages in West Seattle. It’s going to be a serious party. All free and all outdoors. Drum corps from the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders will be sharing the scene with radical brass bands with names like Bolting Brassicas and Orkestra Slivovica. It should be an incredibly good time and the weather report is looking good. Hope to see you out there.

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KBCS’s Voices of Diversity Program this Wed. to focus on Seattle’s Bhutanese Refugee Community

Posted by Leonard on April, 5, 2010

This week I’ll be a guest together with the Rizal family on KBCS’s program Voices of Diversity. The Rizal’s are the Bhutanese Refugee family featured in the story I did last year for the Seattle Channel that told the story of their journey from a refugee camp in SE Nepal to Seattle’s Rainier Valley. Living in the camp for 18 years after being forced out of Bhutan, the UN and various countries recently moved to resettle the community of 110,000 to new countries, the vast majority coming to areas scattered across the United States. Khem is one of 4 brothers that I originally met when driving down Rainier Avenue one afternoon in the late summer of 2008, recognizing them by their Nepali hats (I speak somewhat fluent Nepali after having lived there for a year and a half spread out over 15 years). A year and half later we have become friends and I’ve remained connected to their community, helping to connect them with resources and jobs, and taking groups on occasional walks to Seward Park. Khem and his brother Krishna celebrated election night 2008 at our house with friends, and I was fortunate enough to witness he and his brother Mani’s wedding celebration to 2 sisters recently. Right now the thing their steadily growing community needs are jobs. They are lovely people who need opportunities. If you have any work or leads, please get in touch with me. Listen to the archived radio program here.

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New Youth & Families Initiative video linked to on NYT

Posted by Leonard on April, 2, 2010

On Friday, the New York Times ran this article about the city of Seattle and what kind of place it is for raising children.  In the article was a link to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s new Youth & Families Initiative, which I just happened to have finished the video for earlier in the week. Our initial plan was to wait til next week to roll it out, but with the link and increased attention to the initiative, they decided to make the video live that day. It was an exciting synchronicity for me.  I was pleased with the way the piece turned out and felt like it really captured the energy in the room, and the broad spectrum of Seattleites who were participating in the conversation.  I felt like NYT readers or visitors to the Youth and Families website could get a real sense of what the actually took place at initiative events , and that ideally they’d be moved to get involved in helping to make Seattle a healthier, more equitable community.

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