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Filming at Port of Tacoma & Washington Stormwater Center

Posted by Leonard on April, 22, 2014

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.

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Pangeality Productions New Website Debut!

Posted by Leonard on March, 31, 2014

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

Oh Yeah.

Oh Yeah.

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Sweet Grass Farm, The Best Beef For My Family

Posted by Leonard on March, 13, 2014

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.

Why I Call Myself A Farmer Not A Rancher from Pangeality Productions on Vimeo.

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Filming on Stormwater Project for Regional Nonprofit @ Port of Port Townsend

Posted by Leonard on March, 7, 2014

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’…

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PCC 60th Anniversary Video

Posted by Leonard on March, 5, 2014

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.

The project consists of telling 6 5 minute stories, each representing a decade in the life of the co-op. As a PCC member, it’s an exciting opportunity to work for it. I also produced the board candidate videos which the membership community will watch and vote on at
Here’s more info about their upcoming event

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Kickstarter Campaign for Seattle’s Jefferson Rose Band

Posted by Leonard on March, 3, 2014

Recently I filmed a great show of my friends in The Jefferson Rose Band, live at The Columbia City Theater. They call themselves ‘a world music dance party with hard hitting, bass-driven Caribbean, Spanish and African music laid on the roots of funk and reggae’. Jefferson and I met back in the mid 90’s when we’re were both attending Pitzer College and I’ve been a fan of his music all along. A few years back my wife and I stayed with him in Barcelona, arriving on Christmas day which included the karmic explosion evidenced in the video below, when I magically recovered over $10,000 worth of video equipment I’d accidentally left on a Barcelona subway. This is his band’s second album they’re recording, called Feel Like Dancing. Though I filmed the live show that generated the performance content used in the video, he created and edited the campaign video below, adding new voice over and delivering the pitch for the fundraising. You can catch them performing throughout the Pacific Northwest at festivals and other venues. Pangeality Productions has been filming live music and theater performances for the last decade, always at a reduced rate in support of the local arts community.

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City of Seattle Software Vendor Presentations Filming

Posted by Leonard on February, 10, 2014

Recently I had the opportunity to do some interesting work with the City of Seattle Departments of Transportation, and Planning & Development. The work involved filming the presentations of software vendors who were finalists in an RFP to provide Seattle with its main software to these departments. Think everything from the person who handles the call noting an abandoned vehicle and dispatching the appropriate response, to an inspector in the field doing survey work around residential property lines and everything in between. From the online experience for Seattle residents to the entire back end of customer service, and all of the employees in between. It was a bit monotonous from a creative perspective but having received a BA in urban studies and always having been interested in how cities work it as fascinating. Plus I got to see the completely different styles of how the teams sold themselves and pitched their product to a room full of city employees from a variety of departments and layers of administration. The videos in the long run serve as both a legal binding document to complement the eventual contract as well as a reference point to revisit as necessary. The teams also often cited how their products were being adapted and molded to fit the needs of their clients that are other American cities.

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Returning to Nepal, A Place I Love

Posted by Leonard on January, 31, 2014

I recently returned to Nepal for the 6th time in 20 years. Nepal has a special place in my heart after having studied there and learning the language for the first time in 1995. I subsequently spent time as a volunteer, working in tourism, teaching English, making movies and generally exploring this wonderful country.

Back in 2009, I’d filmed 3 videos for the Seattle Channel connecting Seattle and Nepal; about a Bellevue based nonprofit working to end the stigma of disability in Nepal, about a young Tibetan Lama who was born and family lives in Seattle, and about Bhutanese refugees being resettled in Seattle’s Rainier Valley‘s. I also shot a series of random videos for my YouTube channel that have been enjoyed worldwide including among the Nepali diaspora.

This was my first time back in 5 years and though I was returning mostly as a tourist, I did manage to do some filming, with the goal of developing my DSLR skills. Typically for work I am shooting with my Panasonic HVX 200 camera that uses a very different approach, but in this case was working primarily with my Canon (though I did also shoot some video on my Flipcam and GoPro). I’d set a rather unrealistic goal of making a short documentary about Kathmandu. While the idea itself was very doable, I’d set out to take on a project that required more than the roughly 4 days of filming I’d given myself.

Traveling with an old friend, we’d spend most of the trip outside the capitol city in mountain villages, then a few back in the big city together. He left 5 days before I did and it was in that window that I’d planned to do the work. Needless to say, I made the mistake of scheduling a bunch of interview shoots, which all turned out to be great and well worth the time. But in doing do, I didn’t leave myself near enough time to shoot b-roll and wander, which ironically was so strange given it was that wandering unplanned shooting that really inspired me and brings me the greatest joy in the first place. That plus the emphasis I put on the DSLR side instead of the exploration and having fun which I should have kept as the focus.

With that goal guiding me, I’d connected with my friend Dan McComb, an excellent Seattle DSLR filmmaker about some gear to rent in support of my goal. I ended up renting a hot lens, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8, a Zacuto viewfinder, a microphone and a few other things. In the long run, there was a real part of me which wished I’d just gone for it with my Flipcam and not wasted any time trying to learn new gear. The main difference with the DSLR approach is for me that I’m used to running and gunning as a one man band, with built in audio, and limited variations. I’ve already mastered the gear I work with and know how to make things happen alone and on the fly. Not with my Canon.

So I shot a handful of great interviews with an urban planner, a cinematographer, a political writer, a DJ, a human rights worker, and a handful of others- mostly friends and friends of friends who I had connections to and loved all of those interactions. Those will each no doubt stand on their own as great interviews that I’ll share via YouTube and Vimeo but the main thread to hold it all together with beautiful chaotic visuals just wasn’t there cause I failed to make it happen. Good but frustrating lesson to have learned. I did shoot some additional videos with my flip cam, some sweet timelapses with my new GoPro, and some really great stuff with my Canon as well. The main challenge with the DSLR system is the need for everything to be on a tripod, which was antithetical to my random street shooting flow.

Here are a few random photo selections from the trip

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SeaDoc Seattle Documentary Film Community Annual Potluck Partay

Posted by Leonard on January, 30, 2014

Seattle’s community of documentary filmmakers and lovers is such a vibrant scene. I went the other night to the annual party of the Seattle Documentary Association and had a great time. The group organizes activities for the Puget Sound documentary film community to grow as filmmakers, support one another, creatively energize and have fun. My friends Patricia and Karl hosted a killer potluck, there was a screening room with people sharing work and endless great conversations to be had. To my joy, I was chatting with folks involved in making films about South Asia and the Himalayas, with Amy Benson and Scott Squire (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), Rita Meher (Director of Tasveer, Seattle South Asian Film and Seattle South Asian Documentary Film Festivals) and Eric Koto who’s working on a film about preserving the music and cultural heritage of Ladakh, and Delaney Ruston who makes films about global mental health issues.

With Rita Meher, Dan McComb, Erik Koto, and Amy Benson

With Rita Meher, Dan McComb, Erik Koto, and Amy Benson. Photo by Scott Squire

With Rita Maher of Tasveer and South Asian film groups of Seattle, and Lisa Cooper of Beyond Naked. Photo by Scott Squire of The Girl Who Knew Too Much

With Rita Maher of Tasveer and South Asian film groups of Seattle, and Lisa Cooper of Beyond Naked. Photo by Scott Squire

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Drunk Driving Assemblies Filming @ Seattle Area Middle Schools

Posted by Leonard on December, 20, 2013

In November I was hired by a Washington DC based nonprofit to film a series of events at Seattle area schools. The nonprofit is a foundation that administers the funds required by law from the Liquor Industry to fund drunk driving and youth alcohol education programs. The foundation puts on assemblies in middle schools every year in every state in the US. Typically they have celebrities and local political leaders give a talk about the threat of underage drinking and the horrors associated with drunk driving. They also use an interactive video game which a select group of students play in front of the rest of the audience that includes physical exercise and answering true or false questions about alcohol, human behavior, and the body. At the Seattle school event district school super intendent Jose Banda was the keynote speaker, and in Issiquah was Dave Reichert, former King County Sheriff and current Republican congressman from the east side.

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Filming the Whidbey Institute

Posted by Leonard on September, 30, 2013

Getting the call to record and document the 40th Anniversary of The Whidbey Institute was an especially excellent opportunity. I’d previously done some filming there with Generation Waking Up and their youth summit. On top of an engaging weekend in a gorgeous place with outrageously delicious food and fascinating speakers, I was invited to bring my family along to join in the festivities while I did my work filming. That was particularly unique and enjoyable for me. The Whidbey Institute is focused on 3 main areas: Leadership Transformation, Thriving Communities, and Ecosystem Vitality. The weekend was a celebration of 40 years offering classes, workshops and retreats in support of this mission. Keynote speeches included Joanna Macy’s ‘Deep Time: Nurturing The Great Work Across Generations’, Drew Dellinger’s “Moving Forward in the Spirit of Thomas Berry” and David Spangler’s “The Importance of This Place”. One afternoon there was a session of 10 (5) minute ‘Ignite’ style talks on a wide spectrum of topics including the universe, art, science, technology, health and community. We stayed in a gorgeous wooden cottage tucked amid giant cedar trees, ate fresh amazing food, and played all weekend among the extensive gardens and forest of the institute, walked the stone labyrinth, played with the chickens, listened to the birds and met new people. There was a great session called Late Nite Art that was followed by a killer open mic. Each night there was a bonfire with guitars and sing along, smores and ghost stories. There were group meditations in the sanctuary, and screenings of Earth Portal, “A Guided Tour of The Universe and Our Place In It’ which is an amazing immersive film project of StoryDome. Overall, it was a wonderful weekend of learning, meeting new folks and getting out of the city to spend some time on a beautiful piece of land. I highly recommend The Whidbey Institute and the extensive programming they offer there.

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Owl & Pussycat – Free Outdoor Performances with Theater Simple

Posted by Leonard on September, 15, 2013

I had the pleasure of working with award-winning, internationally acclaimed performance group Theater Simple. They hired me to film a few of their performances of what they call their ricochet off of Norman Lear’s poem Owl & Pussycat. They had originally debuted the show at the Seattle Fringe Festival, but the performances I filmed were a roving production in the beautiful gardens of the Ballard Locks, and at Bumbershoot. At the locks, the production was staged in motion, with the audience following along as the performers lead children and families with a mobile set singing and playing. ‘Utilizing Shakespearean couplets, songs, four actors, and a pea green boat, Owl & Pussycat’s escapades illuminate a love of adventure and some adventures of love. Fur, feathers and puns fly. (Pigs will not.)’. It was a sweet change of pace for me workwise and the kind of performance I’d love to bring my own young son to, in a gorgeous Seattle park on a warm summer day, high imagination with live music and funky costumery. Theater Simple has been performing at international festivals around the world for over 20 years. I look forward to their productions in 2014.

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Filming Interviews @ The Annual SACNAS Conference @ Washington Convention Center

Posted by Leonard on October, 13, 2012

I recently shot a series of interviews at a major science educator conference at the Washington Convention and Trade Center. Working in collaboration with Earth Sky Science News, the interviews were a varied group of scientists who were members of The Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Their research and professional work ranged from the impact of video games on the adolescent brain to volcanology, from nutrition to paleoclimatology. This specific group of scientists came from Mexico and Puerto Rico, and some of them worked at American institutions. SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science. The segments were edited to screen on the Televisa and Telemundo networks as short pieces interspersed with regular programming targeted at youths. Being bilingual as a solid Spanish speaker helped me to follow the interviews in Spanish but the extensive nature of their vocabulary and themes covered were especially challenging.

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10.10.10 One Day On Earth

Posted by Leonard on October, 10, 2012

On 10.10.10 I participated in a global film project to document life on planet earth. When the final film came out in 2012, I was thrilled to see that 4 of the clips I contributed made it into the final film, and even one into the trailer. I’d contributed content from my friends Justin and Debika’s ‘Hindu lite’ wedding in Philadelphia. On Earth Day, 2012, the film debuted in the general assembly at the UN, and screened in every country around the world. My family was in Boston at the time and we hosted a small community screening in Jamaica Plain. It was a powerful family portrait of the shared human condition, both vibrant and struggling. THe film debuted in the general assembly of the UN and was also screened around the world in all kinds of unique venues.
The film Baraka had always been an early inspiration to me and much of my own personal work has been of the archiving of culture, technology, nature, music, labor, food, etc. that I encountered in my travels. The video was all shot spontaneously handheld on a flipcam.

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Pangeality Productions Celebrating 3rd Emmy Award Nomination

Posted by Leonard on May, 9, 2011

I’m thrilled to announce that a story I did for the Seattle Channel program City Stream has been nominated for an Emmy award in the human interest category. The story is a piece about sustainable fishing in Puget Sound, and profiles friend and client Pete Knutson of Loki Fish. I shot and edited the piece, working together with producer Penny Legate who wrote and voiced the story. Last year I was nominated twice, but unfortunately didn’t bring home the award. Hoping this year will be different. I continue to produce stories for the Seattle Channel, mostly focusing on green and environmental issues. Recent stories include how Safeco and Qwest Fields are composting their food scraps and packaging, teaching organic gardening in public housing at Yesler Terrace, a profile of Sustainable West Seattle, a new housing and commercial development along N. Rainier Ave, and others. Most of these videos can be found on other parts of this site or on our Vimeo channel linked to in the bottom left corner of the front page of this website.

Sustainable Fishing & Environmental Stewardship from Washington to Alaska from Pangeality Productions on Vimeo.

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