Monday, June 29, 2009

Last Monday we held our DVD release party at the Greenhouse Tavern. We certainly didn't make any money relative to what we put into the event. But I think we can say it was a big success as a party, because the locally-sourced food, live music, and drinks were great - and, most importantly, our 90 guests all seemed to have a good time. We also spread the word of the movie being available on DVD quite widely throughout Greater Cleveland. Thanks again to all those who helped with that:
Plain Dealer
Cool Cleveland
Cleveland Magazine
2009: Year of the River
Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition
Open Roads Institute
Crown Point Ecology Center
Lakewood Earth & Food (LEAF)
Brewed Fresh Daily
cleveland foodie
Transient Hobo
Renovating the Rust Belt
Real NEO
...and numerous individuals in our network

Big ups to xe la, Ryann Guitar Anderson, and Jordan & Dan Dreyer for their musical and graphic design contributions... plus of course Tom's family for helping at the door.

Here's a little photojournal of the event and all that went into it:

Promoting in Coventry.

Promoting at E4S meeting @ Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Promoting at Cleveland Executive Fellowship meeting on local food.


Party people!

Jordan Dreyer, our New York City graphics designer, who created the DVD packaging and party poster with his brother Dan.

My brother came from Pittsburgh for this dealy!

TK gives it up for Biggie at the afterparty!
Notice the 1000+ DVDs in the background... gee, what to do next?
Swing for the fences like Barry.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Greenhouse Tavern Hosts the PolyCultures DVD Release Party!

Starting at 6pm on Monday, June 22nd
2038 E. 4th St. in downtown Cleveland

$40 covers a DVD, two drinks, gratuity & tax
Free hors d'œuvres until 8pm

A Unique Collaboration
The freshly opened, highly-acclaimed Greenhouse Tavern will host the DVD release party of PolyCultures: Food Where We Live - check out the brand new trailers for the movie on the right! It's a natural collaboration, because the Greenhouse features local food sourcing, recycling, composting, eco-friendly building materials, refurbished furniture, numerous energy efficiencies - the list goes on (PD article).

Space is limited so


Please bring a print-out of your PayPal receipt for admittance.

Check out this video that we at LESS Productions made this week - it should give you a sense of the event and the restaurant!

For $40 ($45 at the door) you'll receive a copy of the PolyCultures DVD, hors d'œuvres concocted by renowned chef Jonathan Sawyer using local ingredients, and drink options of "port punch" and beer. You'll be celebrating with local foodies, characters from the movie, sustainability advocates, members of the arts community, and the pro-Cleveland contingent.

Launching a Green Platform

This unique collaboration between two Cleveland startups will officially launch the national distribution of PolyCultures. The movie was featured in the "Local Heroes" and "It's Easy Being Green" series at the 33rd Annual Cleveland International Film Festival in March. Now LESS is making it available for community screenings, theatrical showings, educational use, library circulation, and home use through

Come on down to have a good time and help us begin to spread the seeds of a revolutionary way of eating throughout the nation! It's time for the U.S. to see how far Cleveland has come in transforming itself from a Rust Belt town to a leader in the local foods movement.

An Historical Event: The Cuyahoga as the Catalyst
In the 1960s Cleveland's main waterway, the Cuyahoga, was one of the dirtiest rivers in the U.S. So polluted with oil slicks and debris, it caught fire several times - including one episode on June 22, 1969 that caused Time Magazine to describe the Cuyahoga as the river that "oozes rather than flows." It was truly a low point in the long and storied history of Cleveland but helped spark national environmental reforms and was a catalyst for the restoration of this once great riverway. On the 40th anniversary of that fire, join us for a unique event that symbolizes Northeast Ohio's environmental rejuvenation and, in fact, significant leadership role in issues of sustainability.

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.