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Seattle Green Building Slam Videos for Northwest Ecobuilding Guild

Posted by Leonard on January, 23, 2016

For the past 6 years Pangeality Productions has filmed and produced the Northwest Ecobuilding Guild’s annual Green Building Slam. The slam is 10 juried presenters giving 10 minute talks about their project featuring 10 slides each. The event is held at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall and growing each year in size is, now fills the room to almost capacity with close to 500 people in the crowd. Each year it’s an impressive variety of projects that span the green building spectrum of commercial and residential construction, from passive solar homes to cargo container accessory dwelling units (ADU). Regional green builders, architects, designers, planners, policy makers and people generally curious about green building gather to enjoy some tasty food and drinks, networking and great presentations. After recording the event, Pangeality Productions edits each video, integrating the slides in, adding logos and titles and making them available to both the presenter and the Northwest Ecobuilding Guild. Over time, the presentations have become a treasure trove of information highlighting and celebrating the evolution of the region’s green building leadership worldwide.

These were 4 of my favorite presentations from the event

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Seattle Artist Documentary Shoot at Metal Studio in Ballard

Posted by Leonard on December, 15, 2015

I’ve been working on a short documentary promotional piece with Seattle based visual artist Jonathan Clarren. He approached me with an interest in showcasing his work, specifically his sculpture pieces. The idea was a documentary short for architects, designers and developers in the planning stages of designing buildings and both interior and exterior spaces to have an opportunity to learn about his work, his process, and the materials he creates with. His goal is to connect with the right people, to get commissioned to build large scale art installations.

At first, we did a series of shoots at his home studio, where he works with wood, glass, paints on large canvases and smaller metal projects. We also shot at a metal studio at the soon to be demolished Fenpro Building in Ballard where he’s piecing together a huge metal sphere that will hang on the side of a building. The building is part of a construction trend in Ballard, and will be replaced by a $50 million+ Nordic Heritage Museum. It was amazing being in a hive of studios that will soon cease to exist, erasing a piece of Ballard art history and an enclave of industrial creativity. Jon has been working with Denny in this metal studio over the years to produce a variety of large scale metal sculptures he’s created.

The studio was an incredibly visually rich environment, with metal pieces strewn about, sparks flying, gritty tools everywhere, and the freedom to climb around and get unique angles as they worked their craft. Denny was rocking the metal lathe, and Jon was standing on top of a table, assembling the half sphere comprised of strips of elaborately carved metal in his signature keyhole pattern (see video below).


This is a short video I made of Jon doddling in this signature style. Eventually these patterns get translated into materials that get sculpted into original pieces.

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Documentary Style Promo Videos with Keyboard Legend Peter levin in NYC

Posted by Leonard on November, 16, 2015

In November I made a trip to NYC to work on some new promo videos for my old friend Peter Levin. Pete is currently playing in the Greg Allman Band, after years touring the world with The Blind Boys of Alabama. Over the last 20+ years during my own journeys, we’ve connected in endless cities where I’ve been at the time and he’s passed through on tour with all kinds of bands. Pete’s a killer keyboard, piano and organ player who’s performed with if you can believe it Allen Toussaint, Crosby Stills & Nash, Aaron Neville, Levon Helm, The Doobie Brothers, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Lou Reed, Joan Osbourne, Yo La Tengo, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Charlie Musselwhite, Christian McBride, Merl Saunders, Phil Lesh, Mike Gordon, Vasser Clements, and the Oak Ridge Boys.

We spent 5 days at his studio in Brooklyn filming daytime sessions with an assortment of players, and then he played each night as part of a weeklong run at The Winery in Manhattan with the Greg Allman Band which I also got to enjoy as his guest. The new materials will showcase some of his solo work with a variety of artists, featuring him playing on an incredible collection of keyboards, synthesizers and his grand piano that he keeps in his studio. Was a great time connecting with an old friend and will be exciting to put the content together over the coming weeks.

This is a similar style of piece we did 7 years back

and a clip of Pete playing Amazing Grace with The Allman Brothers Band and The Blind Boys of Alabama at the Beacon Theater in NYC

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Global Innovation Exchange – New UW + Tsinghua University of Beijing Campus in Seattle Area filming

Posted by Leonard on July, 1, 2015

Last week I did some freelance camera work with CCTV covering the major announcement of the opening of the Global Innovation Exchange (CCTV is similar to a Chinese BBC).  One of the most prestigious universities in China is joining with the University of Washington to run a graduate institute in Bellevue that will focus on technology and innovation. The partnership with Tsinghua University of Beijing — sometimes called the MIT of China — will mark the first time that a Chinese research university has established a physical presence in the United States. The program will be based in the Spring District of Bellevue in the rezoned and redeveloping Bel-Red Corridor. The GIX as it will be known, will start with a few dozen students in fall 2016,  and could grow to 3,000 students in a decade.

“Both Tsinghua and UW faculty will teach, in English, and the students will earn a master’s degree over 15 months. They’ll be charged with tackling great problems of this era: sustainability, health, inequality, environmental issues, transportation and clean energy, to name just a few. Technology isn’t just about engineering and science anymore.” In remarks, a Microsoft person described the partnership as “a way to grow higher education in Seattle, which is “at a disadvantage” when compared with other U.S. cities that are tech-innovation centers, including Boston, New York, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. All of those cities have at least two major research universities; Boston has four. Seattle has one.”

We shot interviews with WA Governor Jay Inslee, the head of research for Microsoft, and the presidents of both Universities, that all played across a variety of CCTV programs.

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‘Serdhak’ – The Golden Hill, Interview with Nepali Filmmakers at Seattle International Film Festival

Posted by Leonard on May, 30, 2015

I recently attended the screening of the world premier of the Nepali film Serdhak – The Golden Hill at SIFF, The Seattle International Film Festival. Following the QnA, I scooped up the young filmmakers, director and star/writer for some Seattle love beyond downtown and their hotel room. Over the years, I’ve visited Nepal 6 times living there for roughly a year and a half and speak almost fluent Nepali. I felt it my responsibility to host these young guys and share my city with them. We went down to Mertle Edwards Park on the Seattle waterfront and enjoyed a gentle breeze and beautiful sunset on a warm night in late May. This is a spontaneous interview we did discussing the making of the film.
Follow their progress as the film begins screening internationally at https://www.facebook.com/SerdhakTheFilm
Our interview:

The trailer:

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• Local Seattle Salmon Content Featured on CCTV Chinese English Language Media

Posted by Leonard on June, 16, 2014

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.

Picture 132

 

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/r-qSwFnJdis?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

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• My work screening at Chicago Cultural Center this week

Posted by Leonard on April, 23, 2014

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”

This man’s life story eventually became the film The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith

Dead Cop In Trunk

City 2000 Chicago Cultural Center

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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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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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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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Filming a Ride Along With Seattle Police Lieutenant for Crime Story

Posted by Leonard on May, 3, 2011

Last week I spent the day filming for an upcoming Seattle Channel story about more scientific approaches to community policing. The idea involves using very specific data analysis to more effectively appropriate limited resources toward reducing crime. City Council member Tim Burgess’ office was hosting a group of academics from the George Mason University who’ve been analyzing Seattle crime data over a period of time and were in town to present to the city council based on their findings. The morning shoot involved a short round table discussion at the Casey Family Foundation offices at the corner of 23rd and Union, a former Central District ‘hot spot’ that has recently successfully brought down the local crime problem. The round table was followed by a neighborhood tour to 4 local businesses, where the owners spoke briefly to the group about their own individual relationship with the community, and the police, and told their story of how things had progressed and changed over the past few years, from recent implementation of the ‘Drug Market Initiative’ to gentrification’s impact on the neighborhood, and a hand full of other themes. The businesses included a coffee shop, a restaurant, a neighborhood cinema, and another multipurpose business.
The best part of the day was the ride along with Lieutenant Joel Guay. Together with my producer, we cruised the East Precinct, which includes in his words “everything from billionaires who live in Madison Park to indigent crack smokers who live in the area known as the jungle.” The East precinct stretches from St Mark’s Cathedral in N. Capitol Hill to Dearborn Ave. in the south, Lake Washington to the East, i5 to the west, and everything in between. It was a pretty amazing tour, as I sat contorted in the front passenger seat between the dashboard mounted laptop and the window, attempting to get a good profile angle of him as he drove, with the streetscape passing behind him through the window, the outdoor exposure constantly shifting as we cruised and I tried to maintain a solid shot.
That was followed by interviews in the City Council chambers with councilmember Burgess who’s a former police officer, and a former detective and special victim’s unit officer from the Baltimore police who is now a PhD candidate at George Mason involved in doing the research. A great way to spend a day learning about our city from a completely different perspective. Air date is June 2nd on Chanel 21 in Seattle.

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New Video: Green Leadership @ Seattle’s Professional Sports Stadiums

Posted by Leonard on April, 26, 2011

Fresh off our recently announced 3rd Emmy nomination, I again teamed up with friend and colleague Penny Legate to produce another story for The Seattle Channel program City Stream. In addition to my work with private clients, I continue to freelance with The Seattle Channel as a cameraman and editor, doing stories mainly about sustainability, the environment and overall people and organizations engaged in positive work in our community. Though the pay isn’t great, I enjoy doing work for broadcast and seeing my work on television. This year The Seattle Channel was nominated for overall station excellence and the broad spectrum of programming is a great reflection of the character of our city, far beyond just covering boring city council meetings.

For the last 2 years Cedar Grove Composting has been one of Pangeality Production’s best clients, and when I learned that they were composting all of the food scraps and packaging at the main sports stadiums here, I thought it’d make a great story for City Stream. I was especially impressed by their partnership with Safeco and Qwest Fields, the homes of Seattle’s MLB team the Mariners and NFL team the Seahawks.

Seattle Channel Video can be played in Flash Player 9 and up
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Testdriving the $110,000 All Electric Tesla Roadster in Residential West Seattle

Posted by Leonard on July, 31, 2010

Leaving a party at the home of legendary photographer Art Wolfe in West Seattle, I assumed the fancy red sports car across the street from my 1992 Honda Accord with 202,000 miles was a Ferrari and belonged to a guest of the party. But it didn’t, and it wasn’t a Ferrari, it was a Tesla Roadster and it belonged to his neighbor Lance who was standing on the sidewalk with his wife and young son. I began asking him some questions about it, not sure why I even knew the name. But as we got into it, I took out my camera to make a video as it turned out he was a Tesla Roadster salesman with all the details. Apparently the car, all electric with a super beautiful body does 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds and is made out of carbon fiber (what they’re using to make new planes with), which according to him is 4 times stronger than steel and 1/4 the weight, and goes 250 miles on one charge. After explaining all of the technology and design elements, we hopped in the car and took it for a spin in the neighborhood on Fauntleroy Ave in residential West Seattle, where Lance proceeded to punch it into hyperspace a few times with it’s insane acceleration. Check out this video tour I made of this incredible car, which at $110,000 (no sales tax as there are no emissions) remains a ridiculously expensive car but according to Lance, this is the forefront of incredible new electric vehicle technology with a goal of introducing non sports car sedans and subcompact lines in the coming years at much lower prices. There are currently 1,300 of the vehicle on the road and roughly 60 in the Pacific Northwest alone.

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