Wednesday, June 3, 2009

still, but with direction

Alright, who's ready for a massive update?!

Aside from a brief note the first week of May, I haven't added much to the blog since the full CIFF debriefing at the start of April. We have been incredibly busy with PolyCultures, putting a distribution system in place almost full-time since the Film Fest. I won't bore you with the details of intellectual property law, acquiring vendors licenses, PayPal accounting, etc. - but suffice it to say that this has been a major undertaking. We're very happy with where we're at, though we've never done anything like this on this scale, so we regret that it's taken a lot longer to put everything in place than we anticipated.

As of June 1st, PolyCultures is available for community screenings, theatrical showings, educational use, and library circulation! On June 22nd the new eco-friendly gastropub, the Greenhouse Tavern, will host the PolyCultures DVD Release Party, and after that the DVD will be available for home use through - you can order it pre-sale now and we'll ship it June 22nd. Check out the details of that party right now (and the clever button our web developer came up with for the main site) - we're stoked to be collaborating with the Greenhouse and think it's gonna be an awesome event!

It'll be interesting to see how these elements of distribution play out over the course of the summer. If they go well, we have a lot of ideas about online distribution and re-editing for one-hour public television appearances.

100 Minutes. 90 minutes? No, 100 minutes.
We took a good hard look at the possibility of editing the movie down to 90 minutes from 100, which we felt like we ought to do in consideration of feedback received at the Cleveland Film Fest (CIFF). We concluded though that it would be rather difficult to do well - due to the way the "conversation" is carefully constructed from quotes from different people, cutting 10 minutes could make key aspects of the movie make less sense, which could easily make the whole movie feel even longer than it does now. That doesn't sound very good, does it? We also don't want to bum out anyone who's already seen themselves in the movie by gutting their contribution. So take a break in between chapters 2 and 3 and between 4 and 5 and enjoy all 100 minutes, k?

Limited First Release v1.01
The CIFF cut was considered v1.00, and in April we made a couple dozen minor edits to tighten it up into what is now v1.01 - a.k.a. "the limited first release." The versioning system is a nod to my software development days back in San Diego, and it specifically relates to the agile methods I learned about and employed there. With agile development, you try to develop a bare-bones working prototype real quick, and then you make it available to your users and garner their feedback before coming up with another iteration that responds to their feedback fairly shortly thereafter, and then you start another iteration and so on. It remains to be seen exactly how often and in what depth we edit Food Where We Live, but it feels good to at least have the framework and intention of it being a living, evolving thing.

Actually, the main thing that makes v1.01 a major stride past the CIFF cut is the menu design when you first put in the DVD and, moreso, the absolutely gorgeous cover art that some friends of LESS Productions, Dan and Jordan Dreyer, created for us. It took a lot of back-and-forth, and there were some technical hurdles as you'll find with any worthwhile project of this magnitude, but now that it's completed we couldn't be more pleased about this art! And the DVD menu makes it a smooth experience to watch plots from the movie one at a time, which is a style of playback for which we've found there's a lot of demand.

PolyCultures Showings in Columbus & Warren
I added a new section to the right called "Upcoming Showings." Check out our July events with Studio 35 in Columbus and the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County in Warren, Ohio. Tom, Brad, and I will all be in Columbus to present and hold a food forum, and Tom will be presenting in Warren - check this blog for more details as they roll in. Also, there's a new "Other Press" section on the right for things that don't fit into a pre-existing box.

Film Festivals
We really enjoyed CIFF and have appreciated the exposure, so we've started applying to a lot more film fests. Here are the ones that caught our eye and have thus far collected our entry fee: Sidewalk, Princeton Environmental, Traverse City, Hot Springs, Detroit Windsor, DocuWest, Planet in Focus, Royal Flush, Artitivst, San Diego, Forecastle. Ideally, we'll get into a handful of festivals that are around the same time and not terribly far from each other so we can integrate them into a cross-country road trip later this year - this idea is TK's baby, and it sounds pretty fun to me. Hit us up in the comments if you have any thoughts on the festival circuit!

What Else is Happening?
Since this is a movie blog, there's a couple new films I want to share. One is Jim Jarmusch's latest, The Limits of Control. I saw it last weekend and it's very textured, very aesthetic-oriented. "I'm among no one." Tai chi is one of many recurrent elements in that, whereas I've been doing yoga since January... so I'm looking forward to seeing Enlighten Up! this weekend, also playing at the Cedar Lee.

As far as food, there's a lot that's happening now that the growing season is in full effect. The CSA we profile in the movie, City Fresh, started their fifth year this past week - you can find out how to sign up here, which I highly recommended. There's a Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition meeting coming up on June 10th about "Connecting Youth to the Food System" - they're still working out the location, so check out their site, which I'm sure will be updated soon. And finally, I was fortunate to attend the grand opening of the Countryside Farmers Market in Howe Meadow in the Cuyahoga National Park this past Saturday - great vendors, great location, great turnout, great ingredients! Buffalo sausages, artisan chèvre, organic 7-grain sunflower spelt bread, chocolate-walnut billy goat fudge... and that's before we even start talking about fresh produce. It's a good time to be living and eating in Ohio, that's for sure.

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