Posted by: Natasha Deganello Giraudie, CEO
Posted by: Natasha Deganello Giraudie, CEO
People are always curious about how extreme autonomy works at Micro-Documentaries. Here's an exciting example - two colleagues working while on a fabulous road trip across North America. This is definitely what I had in mind when setting up the company free of the concepts of office space and office hours. Do you have other examples of extreme autonomy? Please share. We would love to learn about them.
“The cloud became our filing cabinet. The pdf became our printout. A shared Google document became our conference-room whiteboard.” Katie Hilliard and Kevin Mills, Production Managers at Micro-Documentaries
“I was deeply moved to see a room of more than 1,000 people, many of whom had never visited the Amazon, extending their disbelief and connecting virtually with this sacred place.”
— Savana Vagueiro, Production Manager at Micro-Documentaries
Last week I invited some good friends to learn more about an issue I care deeply about: the preservation of the Amazon, which is of natural concern for any Venezuelan, as a good portion of its beauty and richness extends into our country. We attended the Pachamama Alliance's annual luncheon at Fort Mason in San Francisco. The event was phenomenal — inspiring, informative, and delicious (kudos to Back to Earth for that). What impresses me the most about the people of Pachamama is how they successfully partner with the indigenous people of the Amazon, who have stewarded the land for thousand of years on our behalf. You can see evidence of this exchange even in how the issues are discussed. For example, a new threat is on the horizon for the Amazon, as oil companies prepare to increase oil extraction from the pristine territory. A familiar response would be to demonize the oil companies in order to try to fight them. However, the Pachamama Alliance has taken the occasion to remind us that two world views govern our relationship with the planet. One perceives nature as there for our taking; the other perceives nature as there for us to take care of. If we are bold and humble enough to recognize that we all hold both world views at once (while we all want to protect the nature which we love, we also want things that require we take from nature), we may find more solutions with which to move forward collectively. The approach is refreshing and, I find, very reflective of the fruits of the deeply respectful partnership that the Alliance has engaged with the indigenous communities of the Amazon.
Micro-Documentaries happened to be filming. Our Production Manager, Savana Vagueiro, reports from the field.
“She doodled all kinds of notes and started creating this working mindmap of the music and film.” Ben Henretig, Creative Director & Founder, Micro-Documentaries
One of the things I'm proud of about our business model at Micro-Documentaries is the flexibility we provide our entire team so that we can pursue labors of love outside of work. I find that the energy generated by these experiences flows back fully through our company and to our clients. I'm even prouder to report that one of these extracurricular activities, the feature-length documentary by my business partner and Micro-Documentaries Creative Director, Ben Henretig, The Happiest Place: A Journey Across Bhutan has become the top-funded active film on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Ben and our head of post-production, Adam Warmington spent the last several weeks in London working with Imogen Heap on music for Ben's film. The resulting microdoc provides a rare, intimate, and poetic window into an artist's creative explorations. Here is Ben's account of the experience.
“I'm not certain what will come of all of this, but I can tell you it felt momentous as it was happening.”
––Natasha Deganello Giraudie, CEO
This week at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting, I was one of the first people seated at the opening plenary, in an empty row a couple rows back from the ones reserved for heads of state. Within minutes, a man sat down to my left. He turned out to be the co-author of several books by the Dalai Lama, with whom I have personally studied for the last 18 years. The co-author was working to help educate the heart of children, an area I am actively looking at embracing in a significant way. Perhaps our overlapping interests were merely coincidence.
Posted by: Natasha Degenello Giraudie, CEO
One of the best parts of being a documentary filmmaker is that everyday work can take you on incredible trips and connect you with inspiring people around the globe. Recently, one of our field producers, Mark Jackson, embarked on one such trip from his home in Cape Town, South Africa, to Bangalore, India. His goal was to create a short film to provide a taste of the Science for Monks program, which our friends at the Sager Family Traveling Foundation & Roadshow sponsor. Here are some of his recollections of the experience.
I like to think that I learn from each person I meet while producing a short film, but working with the Tibetan monks in India stands out as a particularly special job.
The focal point of the Science for Monks program is the Dalai Lama Institute for Science, which is located about 100 kilometres outside Bangalore. It wasn’t easy to get there. I had a middle-of-the-night layover in Dubai, and my taxi ride from Bangalore proper out to the center was far from tranquil. In the old city, the streets were packed with people and cows and bikes and rickshaws and everything from 1950s taxis to the very latest high-tech, top-of-the-range cars and buses, all going in different directions.
Posted by Natasha Deganello Giraudie, CEO
A night to remember. One million children in Honduras and other countries around the world will receive a nutritious school meal thanks to the Clarins Million Meals Concert for FEED, which took place at the Lincoln Center in New York City on May 30, 2012. The concert marked the fifth-anniversary celebration for FEED, the social business that creates bags and apparel to help feed hungry children around the world. Concertgoers were treated to great music and speeches, plus a microdoc that showed how FEED has a profound impact in places like Kenya, Guatemala, and Honduras. My business partner and Creative Director, Ben Henretig, reports from the field.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Clarins Million Meals Concert for FEED, where one of our microdocs screened alongside appearances from John Legend, Natasha Bedingfield, the now-famous PS22 choir, and President Bill Clinton. Many of our microdocs are destined for the web, so we get a bit giddy whenever we have the opportunity to screen a piece on the big screen.
The evening was a stunning success. The event raised one million meals in one night to benefit the World Food Program’s school meals initiative. It also highlighted how a microdoc can help convey a story and inspire viewers into action. As Lauren Bush Lauren, acclaimed model, activist and co-founder of FEED, said, “It is one thing to talk about the issues that face the millions of hungry people around the world, but it is another to go and see firsthand.”
Two weeks ago I traveled to La Paz, Honduras, with Lauren and Christian Courtin-Clarins, the chairman of Clarins cosmetics, to help document the impact of their new partnership. In La Paz we met many local people and saw firsthand how their poverty leads to malnourishment and underweight children. We also saw how FEED is having a tangible impact in places where children need it most. Most recently, FEED and Clarins have created a FEED 15 cosmetics bag; the number on each bag indicates the number of children fed around the world with the purchase of the bag.
It was humbling to see the fruits of their labor and to watch as thousands of concert attendees in New York were inspired to join the cause.
His Holiness visits Hawaii
The coming together of two native cultures. He calls it compassion, we call it aloha.
It's rare these days that I personally get to work on the front lines of a production, but today I am very happy to be reporting from the field, here in Oahu in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Pam and Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, are hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama to launch “Pillars of Peace Hawaii: Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha.” The program aims to bring global peace leaders to Hawaii to share ideas about actively practicing peace and aloha in our daily lives, both at home and around the world.
We are producing a series of micro-documentaries and releasing them as the event unfolds, to enrich the experience of participants as well as to capture a taste of the Dalai Lama's visit itself.
Our bodies are challenged from little sleep, but our hearts are filled as this exchange between Tibetan wisdom and the spirit of Aloha has been a deeply meaningful project for us to be involved with. Our intention is for the audience to be inspired to incorporate the essence of these native intelligences into their modern lives. In learning more about the spirit of aloha, which teaches us to be in harmony with our surroundings and our fellow humans, I have come to be very proud of my Hawaiian heritage - even without being Hawaiian!
The first two micro-documentaries, which were released yesterday morning, were shared on the stadium-sized screens of the Stan Sheriff center in the afternoon for 10,000 people and streamed live around the world. I hope you enjoy them.
Student Talk: Educating the Heart
The importance of complementing academic studies with compassion.
Micro-documentaries being shown to 10,000 people at Stan Sherif center gathering to listen to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
We just got back from the energizing experience of attending the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. We were invited to film on Tuesday and Wednesday, we edited overnight and the resulting micro-documentary was shown on the huge screens of the closing plenary on Thursday afternoon.
As you will see in the microdoc, the meeting was impressive on many levels (distinguished attendees, engaging conversations, optimistic energy), but perhaps most exciting of all was how this inspiration was channeled into action. In order to participate, members must present their CGI Commitment - a concrete plan to address a major global challenge. For example one of the many commitments made was to teach 200 million people who cannot read in India to be able to read the newspaper over the course of the next 3-5 years. Partnerships between governments, corporations and nonprofits fuel the execution of the more than 2,100 commitments made over the last 7 years.
The most memorable moment for me was a conversation between Archbishop Desmond Tutu (in New York, at the meeting) and Aung San Suu Kyi (in Myanmar, via satellite). After declaring his love for her, "I'm like a smitten young man," he explained how he has been inspired by her because "you continue to believe in the humanity even of those who have sought to dehumanize you over these many years." If that exchange does not give us insight into the great potential of our humanity, I don't know what does.
natasha deganello giraudie
by Ben Henretig, Creative Director, founder, Micro-Documentaries
Any mention of Haiti conjures the earthquake: multi-story buildings flattened like cardboard, tent camps squeezed into busy city centers, the tears and heartbreak of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters who lost loved ones in the disaster.
But there’s another side to the disaster with which many of us are unfamiliar - the tremendous resiliency of the Haitian people, their eagerness for new opportunity and collaboration, and the catalytic impact technology and education are having in transforming the situation in Haiti.
Noah Stout on filming the Stanford Blood Center Series
One function of Micro-Documentaries is to depict stories that will move others to action. Perhaps the most touching productions I have worked on were those for the Stanford Blood Center. These were stories about peoples’ lives being saved from blood and bone marrow donations. I give credit to everyone who selflessly donates blood, and has allowed one of these stories to move them to a blood center to save a life. What I want to talk about in this piece of writing, however, is a different sort of inspiration I experienced when digesting these stories.