The Potluck Society: An OTA Journey

On November 12, 2016, OTA hosted The OTA Finale, which we fully expected to be the final engagement we’d have in the ota region.

The night before the event, we got word that Reggie Watts would be unable to join us due to some career-threatening vocal issues. This meant that, after paying some penalties, we’d have remaining funds for one last project.

As we reflected back on the eight years of OTA, there were two significant highlights that we felt extremely proud of.

The first was the thirty-five micro-documentaries that had been produced in partnership with Passenger, featuring people from throughout the three states in a variety of creative and community roles. These films captured the spirit of these individuals and the region in a beautiful, tangible way. 

The second was the OTA Builder and OTA Trailblazer programs that put dollars in the hands of 26 creative and community builders that were either starting or finishing projects. These individuals gave the region a glimpse of the creative journey and contributed their voices from OTA’s stage in our final regional events. We are confident that the ripples of these programs will extend for years after OTA has wrapped up.

So, with these efforts front of mind, we began to consider how we might wrap up OTA intentionally and invest the remaining funds in an appropriate way.

After much consideration, we chose to invest the funds in filming an OTA documentary as an unofficial 27th OTA Builder/Trailblazer project with Kylee Leonetti and Christian Jensen of Kylee and Christian Creative.

Kylee is a native of Minneapolis and Christian a native of Milbank, SD. Both currently live in Minneapolis and work together as a wife and husband, producer-filmmaker power duo.

Over the course of four months in 2017, they filmed and edited a feature-length documentary that spotlights 16 OTA creatives and includes many others from the region. The film follows OTA’s founder, Hugh Weber, as he makes one last OTA journey through the three states catching up with people who have played significant role in OTA’s history. We see creativity risk and community building in action throughout the region through Hugh, the places he visits, and the people that he encounters.

When we commissioned this film with Kylee and Christian, we entrusted them to tell the story of OTA as they saw it, and as OTAns themselves. We are extremely proud of the story they’ve chosen to tell, in its complexities, with its challenging context and in its tangible nuances. There are a limitless number of stories that could be told about this region, this organization and the people that it has worked to connect and champion. We believe that Kylee and Christian have chosen a path that is significant and worthy of the possibility that this region contains.

A final word of thanks to everyone that has contributed thoughts and time to this film and to OTA in general. It wouldn’t have happened without the support of so many people and for that we are grateful. We hope you will all take time to see the film, share your thoughts, have a conversation and continue the great work of building this region.  Thanks to all of you.

The Potluck Society: An OTA Journey
A film by Christian Jensen
Produced by Kylee Leonetti
Executive Producer Hugh Weber
Music by Chris Hepola & Eric Struve

Screenings

Our sincere hope is that this documentary can spark an ongoing conversation about the communities we hope to build and the role creativity will play in those futures. If your community is interested in a screening, we hope you’ll email us at hugh@hughweber.com or fill out the form below.

 
 Left to Right, Hugh Weber, Kylee Leonetti, Christian Jensen.

Left to Right, Hugh Weber, Kylee Leonetti, Christian Jensen.

This film - and OTA - is a collage of conversations. You look at a collage in a gallery and you see parts of images and phrases that all come together to form the bigger piece. The editing and structure of this film is kind of like that. You might start one thought, go to another, and come back to that initial thought, but really they’re all just one, big conversation.
— Christian Jensen, Director
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