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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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Connecting the dots, beyond filmmaking

Posted by Leonard on June, 28, 2010

As a filmmaker and videographer working internationally producing media about environmental and social issues, being able to make connections and have a positive impact is very rewarding. It was great to see 2 projects I’d worked on cross to create a unique opportunity.  It’s also nice to be able to continue my relationships with clients beyond the actual content production stage of our relationship, and this past Friday I had a nice synergy of client overlap.

A few months back while working on a story for Cedar Grove Composting at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show at The Washington Convention Center, I was following the food and beverage manager around the facility and filming while she talked about all the great food scrap and waste product composting they were doing there. When she lead me through the industrial kitchen, I saw people from all over the world working there, immigrants who didn’t all speak english but seemed happy in their work environment, and it occurred to me that perhaps this was a place where some of the Bhutanese Refugees I’d filmed in my story about their relocation to here in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, could also work.  So after checking with Cedar Grove to clarify that was an appropriate way to communicate with the Convention Center, I floated the idea, and the woman taking me on the tour was fine with it.

So here, a few months later, I was back at the Convention Center with a group of 10 refugees who have now been hired as part time workers there, washing dishes and doing other basic kitchen work.  To my surprise, it took about 5 hours of me translating and handholding to get all the paper work filled out together with a brief orientation around everything from getting uniforms to how to enter the building and what to expect when they showed up for their first shifts tomorrow. Taking so long wasn’t a big deal for me as it felt great to see some of these refugees so excited to be getting some actual work.  Arriving in America over the last 2 years with our economy in shambles, it’s been a very tough time to find work and for almost all of them it will be their first actual employment here in America.  They’ll be making the WA state minimum wage of $8.55/hr and some of them will be working the night shift from 10PM – 6 AM but overall they were incredibly excited and very grateful for the opportunity I’d facilitated for them.

Of the ten of them, there were 2 sisters, 2 brothers, one husband and wife and their 2 sons and daughter in law, ranging in age from 19-mid 50’s and best of all, the father featured in the piece I produced about their resettlement. He’s been here for 2 years now and with no language or work skills, he’s been very bored and unengaged in little more than going to ESL classes that are slow and frustrating and taking care of his young grandson, but little positive engagement with the outside world because of his limited language skills.  So he was very excited and couldn’t stop telling me how much it meant to him.  Also, I was very pleasantly surprised by how positive and supportive the staff getting them all signed up were, from the HR manager to the head chef (who had been to and loved Nepal as a tourist and knew how lovely Nepali people were), they were patient and joyful and overall really ready to give these folks a chance which is exactly what they need. Unfortunately the work is not full time but hopefully once they get a chance to prove themselves and the economy picks up, that there’ll be opportunities for more long term employment. My hope is that over time, this venue will have positions for more Bhutanese Refugees.

Here is the piece I produced about composting food scraps at the Convention Center http://vimeo.com/10096783

Here is the piece about the resettlement of Bhutanese Refugees from camps in Nepal to Seattle’s Rainier Valley http://vimeo.com/7260916

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Article in Nepali newspapers ‘Republica’ & Kathmandu Post about our Emmy Nominated video

Posted by Leonard on May, 18, 2010

Click on the image below to read the article

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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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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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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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Top 10 Capitol Hill Seattle Videos of 2009

Posted by Leonard on January, 9, 2010

I stumbled upon this great collection of 2009’s best Seattle videos, compiled by The Capitol Hill blog. It’s a great celebration of community and art and joy and transformation, from the election of Mike McGinn to leveling blocks of Broadway for the new light rail station, time lapse sequences to sledding parties on Denny Way. Each of the pieces is produced by a different filmmaker in a variety of styles and formats, all about life in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Some true Seattle vibes shining through.
See the films here.

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