The Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center is assisting businesses, government and nonprofits with practical solutions for economic and environmental vitality. It’s a nonprofit organization that works to research and produce high quality, unbiased pollution prevention (P2) information, in order to promote environmental protection through pollution prevention. PPRC believes that environmental and economic vitality go hand in hand, and that both are necessary to protect the high quality of life enjoyed in our region. It’s this unique position that enables PPRC to be available to sometimes adversarial parties who need to work together but often find it challenging to both share their challenges and problems openly while also working within the confines of the laws and regulations. They do impressive work that has truly meaningful impacts and consequences.
Over the past few years we’ve worked together on a number of video projects and I’ve always enjoyed the work we’ve done together. Specifically I’ve enjoyed making visits to the sites where we film, to port facilities, solar installations, factories and other industrial and manufacturing locations. I especially enjoyed when working on the Zinc in stormwater project, getting the chance to film in the skies above Seattle to highlight the proximity of industry and potential pollution sources all along the Duwamish River corridor.
Each year PPRC hosts a regional roundtable to bring together players in the Pollution Prevntion (P2) sector to network and share around the issues and challenges they’re working to address. This year PPRC hired Pangeality Productions to put together a year in review video to open the conference at a downtown hotel. The video highlights PPRC’s ongoing work on the Solarize Bellevue campaign, The Green Sports Directory, their work with WA craft breweries, spray and paint efficiency trainings, and their wildly successful Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) program. I was also onhand to film the keynote speech and other related workshops. It’s always special to stand in the back of a packed room and see your work projected live onto a big screen. I look forward to more wiork together in the years to come.
I recently worked with The Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island to provide coverage of their big 40th anniversary event. Primarily to cover their 3 keynote sessions with Joanna Macey, Drew Dellinger and David Sangler, as well as their ignite talks style session of 12, 5 minute topics on a wide spectrum of ideas by a range of community members. It was a beautiful weekend that I was happy to have been able to include my family in participating in. Lots of wonderful food , late night art, quiet meditative time, speeches, salons, outdoor activities, and more, all on a beautiful piece of land surrounded by thick juicy forest. This is a short video sharing the vibrancy of the TWI community showcased on this special weekend. Enjoy
Last week I had the joy of attending The Rose International Fund for Children’s annual fundraising dinner. TRIFC is a Seattle based nonprofit who works with disabled children in Nepal. Back in 2009, I’d done a story for The Seattle Channel about TRIFC and the amazing work they’re doing, that was nominated for an Emmy award (video below). In Nepal, people with disabilities are often hidden and shamed, their disability viewed as the product of a past life sin. TRIFC’s work is both to provide these children with necessary surgeries and medical care, as well as education and support in developmental and social skills. In addition to the direct work with this population, they are actively working on breaking down the stigma associated with disability in Nepal through PSA’s and other public outreach campaigns.
TRIFC is directly connected to Rotary International and each year takes groups of Rotarians on trips there. For the fundraising dinner, I had volunteered to film the event in support of TRIFC’s great work. While shmoozing, I decided to do a short spontaneous video with Nirmala Gyawali, the executive director of TRIFC’s ADSoN project, The Ability Development Society of Nepal. Nirmala is blind and the video is about the TRIFC backpack for blind students in Nepal. It comes full of tools designed specifically for blind students, including an abacus, ruler, tablet, and other materials with braille writing. My goal was to make a short, easily accessible video promoting the $75 backpacks as a way for people to financially support TRIFC and blind Nepali students at a financial level accessible to many people.
TRIFC has designed a backpack kit with the tools necessary for blind students in Nepal
Backpacks for blind students video:
Original Emmy nominated story about TRIFC’s work in Nepal:
I’ve recently been enjoying working with New Roots Organics, a Seattle based organic produce delivery company. You may recognize their warehouse between Fremont and Ballard by it’s giant purple metal beet hanging outside. Last week we made a visit to Frog Song Farm in Conway WA, in the Skagit River Valley to do some filming for a new series of videos for New Roots. This is some of the most fertile farmland in the nation, recently having officially surpassed the San Joaquin Valley. Frog Song is adjacent to Dry Slough Orchard, owned by the Frog Song owner’s dad. Together, they farm on a beautiful space on Fir island, ringed by dykes holding back the Skagit River on 2 sides and the ocean on another. Extensive golden wheat fields across the road looking east stretch toward Cascade mt peaks in the distance. We arrived early morning and it was gorgeous, greeted with fresh muffins and coffee, fruit, cheese and fresh crab caught in the nearby spit the day before, spread on a picnic table in the orchard. It was a great day filming vegetables growing and harvested.
Bean bounty beauty
They grow 5 varieties of Asian pears
Tractor blade sliced exposure
Freshly cut grain across the street from the farm and orchard
Sweet breakfast in the orchard with their fruit, honey, jam and crab.
Fresh breakfast in the orchard with their fruit, honey, jam and crab
Owner Dennis Reveals Dry Slough Orchard sign
Super fertile soil
Freshly cut wheat across the street from the farm and orchard
Recently I provided live video coverage of the International Food Bloggers Conference here at The Westin Hotel in Seattle, specifically for a demonstration session with Krusteaz and their easily made baking mixes. With a large crowd in a big ballroom, they wanted to make sure attendees had a close up view of what was going on up front and the live feed back projected onto a giant screen visible to all. At the conference, thousands of food bloggers from around the US come together to talk recipes and trends and all kinds of other food related ideas and poducts. In this session, Krusteaz was demonstrating 6 simple recipes and talking generally about how best to use their products. I liked that the overall thrust of the session was how versatile their whole line is and in encouraging people to experiment heavily with how to use their mixes and to get creative with their recipes. Krusteaz is a local company based here in Tukwila, WA, though I was working with an east coast based public relations house that specializes in clients in the food industry. We’d worked together previously on a big live canning and cooking demo at The Pike Place Market and with AllRecipes.com on events they were hosting. Unfortunately, these quick Iphone photos I shot during filming don’t do much to showcase the ballroom crowd and cooking demo.
PP recently finished production on the Transformational Leadership Project video series with client Claris Consulting. Claris leader Hugh Blane lead a series of 15 videos that will be available for purchase in conjunction with their business consulting work. We shot the series in a Seattle studio with him using a teleprompter. Below is the overview video introducing the series.
Excited to announce that one of our videos recently won an honorable mention in the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable’s MVP2 awards for our film ‘Zinc in Stormwater: Galvanizing Business Solutions’. The awards are designed to recognize outstanding and innovative pollution prevention (P2) projects/programs judged on the 5 criteria: innovation, measurable results, transferability, commitment, and optimization of available project resources. The overall focus is on projects that demonstrate source reduction activities.
“The video provides context to the issue of zinc pollution by showing how the metal leaches into stormwater from many different sources. Because zinc comes from so many places, no one solution is likely to suffice for any business. Businesses need to carefully assess the sources of the metal and then implement a variety of site-specific solutions.”
The film was produced in connection with The Pollution Prevention Resource Center, and funded by a grant from The Russell Family Foundation. Increasingly, a number of commercial properties were not meeting the necessary benchmarks outlined by the WA Dept of Ecology and this video is meant to assist those entity’s efforts in getting into compliance following BMPs set forth by others regionally. See earlier blog posts for photos and more info.
Over the years I’ve done a variety of work with Puget Sound/Seattle area salmon fishermen, helping them to use video as a tool to share their story. Some of that content is now featured in a CCTV report about fish consumption worldwide. CCTV America is the American arm of China Central Television of Beijing. Based in Washington D.C., producing daily English language programming for a global audience. The content shows salmon being caught in Puget Sound, and unloaded at Fishermen’s Terminal for sale in Seattle area markets and farmers markets. For more info visit LokiFish and Puget Sound Salmon Commission.
I’ve been working on a story about heavy metals in industrial stormwater runoff entering Puget Sound, specifically zinc. The story is being produced for regional environmental NGO The Pollution Prevention Resource Center. Through PPRC, we were able to connect with another national nonprofit out of Wyoming called LightHawk that connects recreational pilots with environmental projects that could benefit from a unique aerial perspective. So Lighthawk connects pilots across the country with photographers and filmmakers, journalists, policy makers, funders and others to get up into the air to survey areas of particular focus or concern. Yesterday, I was privileged to connect with pilot Linda Chism who is an engineer with Alaska Airlines professionally, but a pilot in her free time who also has a personal connection to and interest in the Duwamish River, one area of focus on this project so it was a natural match.
I met Linda at her Auburn Airport hangar where she keeps her Piper Super Cub two seater plane, and after a quick safety walk through and explanation about the aircraft, we were up and over Seattle to start filming. In communication with the Boeing Field air traffic controllers, we, One Delta Bravo, broke straight west and out over Vashon Island and Puget Sound, over the West Seattle ferry dock and up the West Seattle coastline, up and around Alki Beach and heading south, down the Duwamish River industrial corridor. This b-roll will help to educate viewers of the video with a unique perspective connecting industrial stormwater pollution with our local waterway, complementing interviews with local pollution prevention advocates, scientists, and experts featured in the piece. Stay tuned, the piece should be finished in the coming weeks.
Rolled up in the back seat of a Piper Super Cub, ready to film from the Emerald City sky
Cruising over the West Seattle ferry dock with all of West Seattle and the the Seattle skyline in the distance
Taking in the West Seattle coastline
The Duwamish River industrial corridor that leads and dumps to Elliot Bay
Pilot Linda Chism with her Piper Super Cub at Auburn airport
`Vashon Ferry Dock from the air
Lincoln Park salt water public swimming pool
The West Seattle Coastline from the air
Cars loading at the West Seattle ferry dock
After our two passes over the Duwamish River we were able to cruise a bit south over Puget Sound before returning to Auburn airport.
Hangin’ in the hangar predeparture.
A tug boat cruising across Puget Sound
Above West Seattle High School athletic fields with Seattle skyline in background.
West Seattle Lighthouse at Alki Beach Point
West Seattle Lighthouse at Alki Beach Point
A ribbon of interstate highway 5
The line where the waters of Elliott Bay meet the larger Puget Sound
14 years ago I was a young filmmaker with a dream job. I was getting paid to wander the streets of Chicago collecting stories with a video camera. It was part of the CITY 2000 project that my good friend Jon Lowenstein had pulled me in to. Chicago In The Year 2000 was the vision of billionaire philanthropist Gary Comer, the owner of Land’s End clothing company. Inspired by the depression era WPA photos of Dorothea Lange and others, his vision was to capture what life was like in the City of Chicago in the Year 2000. He hired a group of full time photographers of which my friend Jon was one, and a small number of videographers that set out to document the city over the course of 12 months. The collection was a gift to the city and is now an archive housed at the Health Sciences Special Collections at The University of Illinois at Chicago that includes over 100 hours of video I filmed in neighborhoods throughout Chicago.
At the end of the year, there was a video that was produced to screen at a show at the Chicago Cultural Center on January 1st, 2001. That video will be shown again at the Chicago Cultural Center this week as part of a larger screening of Chicago documentaries.
Below are two of the stories I filmed that were included in the piece.
“I’ve got a quarter of a million dollars in my pocket, and I still can’t get a fucking cab”
Spent some time filming last week at the Port of Tacoma and The Washington Stormwater Center. In the port, shipping giant Tote runs twice weekly freight runs between Tacoma and Anchorage Alaska (that takes 66 hours nonstop one way). Tote has had great success in reducing the heavy metals and specifically zinc in their storm water runoff from their property. Working together with 12,000 Rain Gardens of Puget Sound, they’ve installed a series of rain gardens designed to filter and process water runoff. The water which collects on the paved surfaces of their facility and warehouse roofs carrying industrial pollutants and heavy metals, are filtered and absorbed by the garden now prior to it returning to Puget Sound. This video is being produced by Pangeality Productions for Pollution Prevention Research Center, with funding through a grant provided by the Russell Family Foundation, and is geared toward recording and sharing best practices among industries for managing and treating specifically zinc in storm water.
Mt Rainier towering over the Port of Tacoma
Rain gardens like this one take water running off warehouse roofs through gutters, and filter it for heavy metals with soil and plants.
Courtesy of 12,000 Rain Gardens of Puget Sound.
Varied materials used in similar conditions for measuring and analyzing stormwater runoff.
Water that previously flowed out of this pipe untreated now passes through rain gardens that filter it before returning to Puget Sound
Water collected in each zone for comparison
New and rental cars for summer tourists shipping up to Alaska.
Varied materials used in similar conditions for measuring and analyzing stormwater runoff.
Old metal chains leaching heavy metals into runoff
New and rental cars for summer tourists shipping up to Alaska.
Where the vehicles that load onto the boats stage.
Illustration of water passing through to be absorbed by soil, not funneled into Puget Sound.
Flat and sloped roofing samples that are being used in research to determine zinc and other metals leaching from rain
Tote owns and operates two ships weekly between Tacoma and Anchorage AK.
Tires are a big source of zinc pollution that reaches Puget Sound.
Cyrus and I have been working together on this story for PPRC Pollution Prevention Resource Center
Discussing the various research projects they have going on at the WA Stormwater Center.
Roofing samples intentionally leeching zinc into captured water for comparison.
At The Washington Stormwater Center at Washington State Uinversity Extension Center in Puyallup, WA.
Hustlers, cabs that pull trailers on and off of ships
Excited to share the new Pangeality Productions website. With gratitude to my friends who helped to make it happen, including Peter Levin who wrote the demo music and William Washington who helped bring the freshness. And to Michelle Kilmer of KilmerHansen who built the site.
I’ve been working for a while to bring it out and am feeling good about releasing it into the world. Welcome and enjoy, and thanks for your continued support of Pangeality Productions. – Len Davis
One of my favorite recent projects has been working with Scott Meyers of Sweet Grass Farm on Lopez Island here in NW Washington state. SGF is raising Kobe Wagyu beef, that is considered by local chefs and food writers to be some of the best beef in the world. I spent some time on the farm with Scott on 2 separate trips, both times shooting b-roll around the pasture, and speaking on such a wide variety of topics including water conservation, bovine terminology, grasslands management, seasonal care, birth and calving, slaughter, and so much more.
SGF mainly direct markets their beef, so the majority of their product goes to families in the region who they sell directly to with no middle man. They also sell to a few select markets and restaurants but the vast majority is straight to the consumer, where they don’t slaughter any animals who haven’t already been accounted for before hand. For me, this type of marketing video is the most clear expression of what Pangeality Productions is best at- giving you the ability to connect with your customers in an authentic voice, telling your story and sharing your values. Segments that came out of the project which SGF now uses in their marketing include The Best Steak Ever? Why I Call Myself a Farmer and Not a Rancher, What’s In a 30lb Box, and Ear Tagging and Selenium Injection. This is a short video that gives the best overview of the work I produced for Sweet Grass Farm, and here is a testimonial that Scott did for Pangeality Productions, discussing how this approach of creating a series of short videos that each stood as it’s own video worked to reach, educate and entertain their customers. We’ve still got another hand full of videos in the pipeline but these were the first set that Scott chose to roll out.
Spent a day this week filming at the Port of Port Townsend on a storm water project with Seattle based nonprofit PPRC (Pollution Prevention Resource Center). The project is about sharing best management practice regarding removing heavy metals from surface water before it drains into Puget Sound, our regional body of water, and with this site specifically at maritime facilities. Specifically zinc, is present in tires, roofing and siding, gutters, paint, fencing, pressure treated lumber and so many other materials and products found in a typical setting like this. Ironic that the material used to protect against the elements, in this case rust in the marine environment, is the main polluter. So the pollution sources are both the marine vessel maintenance and the on site buildings themselves. It was quite fascinating to learn about the port of Port Townsend being the only remaining DIY port in the state of Washington and the battle to maintain that character and access, which means allowing boat operators to work on their own boats in the facility 24/7. To my surprise that is apparently unheard of in this day and age and the battle to do so is both an importantly held value there, and a top reason for the presence of a high volume of heavy metals in their stormwater that they’re responsible for before it returns to sea. We spent most of the day with the environmental compliance officer whose role it is to police the work being done in the port, and make sure the rules and regulations are being enforced, specifically around things like whether people who are sanding their boats before painting have the proper vacuum attached to their sander to limit the airborne dust, where the toxic chemicals removed from the hulls of ships are draining to, as well as the installation of proper downspouts on the gutters of the port’s warehouse and maintenance buildings.
One sound bite that stuck with me from the interview with our host were the challenges of bridging the two worlds- that he had the credibility of having worked in the maritime trade for many years himself, but enforcing the environmental rules with a lot of salty dogs not too happy to have him around looking over their shoulders and ‘seeing those same guys at community BBQs and events in ‘a county of only 37,000 people’…
PCC (Puget Consumer Co-op) is turning 60 years old in 2014 and Pangeality Productions has been hired to produce the video celebrating this great legacy. What began in a household basement as a food-buying club of 15 families in 1953, is today the largest consumer-owned natural food retail co-operative in the United States, with $200 million+ in sales last year at 9 Puget Sound area stores. The videos will combine a huge collection of archival footage, old newsletters and articles from local print media, membership cards from over the years, interviews with various people who’ve contributed to the success. I’ll also be shooting footage from a variety of their stores and operations, highlighting their farmland conservancy program, cooking classes and other community initiatives. PCC is opening new stores in Greenlake in June this year and in Columbia City in 2015.