Beautiful Imperfections

October 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Working on the Lunch Love Community webisodes, the form-follows-function rule comes up again as I get used to making these shorts for the web.

One function of this project is to attract and coalesce emerging advocates for school lunch reform. These pieces about the Berkeley experience are gifts to anyone who wants to watch and use them.

Another function of the project is to create a laboratory-like environment where we can create and test out a new container for growing them.

Containers

As I thought of using the work “container,” the image of container gardening came to me. Our container garden for these pieces — that I hope will grow and vine out across the web – sits on the wire frame of the web. For now, we are testing how these little documentaries will be noticed and used even though they are not yet connected to traditional distribution streams like broadcast, or venues like film festivals or museums or other art spaces.

The variegated forms of each of the webisodes are emerging from both an internal, dialogue I am having with myself and an ongoing external conversation I am having with my creative partners, about function, clarity and possibility.

What ideas, scenes and images to include and build upon? What elements to intentionally leave out? Is there a story that is being pointed to, indirectly, outside the frame? Or a proposition – an insight or idea – being offered to the viewer to take and extend further? These questions come up while building a piece we limit to no less than 3 minutes and no more than 7.

The process is imperfect because we have to discover what each piece wants to be — picking and choosing, drafting and revising, adding and subtracting, reducing and polishing a narrative or string of linked ideas to spark the viewer to want to explore the subject more. I’m calling this exploration “Beautiful Imperfections,” because I feel I am working with a highly unstable tension between:

1. Being an artist using digital media and…being a filmmaker.

2. Art that builds community and …art that tells the truth.

3. A creative partnership and …individual vision and control.

4. Vernacular, alive imperfect video and…professional craft.

5. What is media communication and…what is media art.

6. Creating a viewing space for insights to emerge and… having a simply clarified message to put out as a call to action.

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Jamie Oliver Provokes

October 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

I would NEVER have thought, in 2007, when I started working on this doc, that we, as independent filmmakers, would be competing with Jamie Oliver doing school lunch for major broadcast media. His series is certainly now polarizing discussions, but I want to say that in this emerging era of social media, there are alternatives to this kind of television.

All over the country people are struggling to change the way our children eat. We want to see, think about, and talk about how other people, in other communities, are solving these problems and having a good time doing it. Alice Waters told me, “there’s no need to ‘replicate’ the way school lunch being done in Berkeley. Think about how to ‘interpret’ this experience for your own place, social situation and food customs. “I love that idea of interpretation rather than replication — like improvising with a recipe.”

In this highly partisan society we live in now, the Berkeley school lunch initiative proves that giving the gift of healthy and sense-awakening food to children may be an issue that a community can rally around, and individuals can discover common interests and passions they did not know were there.And when that happens, it might become a space in which to share — as citizen — thoughts and possibilities about other issues that matter, all outside the conflict-ridden media echo chamber.

In our webisode series, it is a very diverse and opinionated community — not an individual hero — that works over years, not days or weeks, to make change.It is hard, and it is gratifying, and it is an adventure in which we can all participate.

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