Monday, September 19, 2011


We have been working on a new film, THE APPLE PUSHERS, for the past year, which delves into the lives and stories of several immigrant street cart vendors who are, from dawn to dusk, pushing fresh produce into low income neighborhoods in New York City - where, like urban and rural neighborhoods all over America, finding a ripe red apple is a serious challenge.

The project came about after meeting Laurie Tisch, a prominent philanthropist (and co-owner of the Giants) in Aspen when we first screened our prior film, TEN9EIGHT.  After the screening, Laurie asked me if I would be interested in coming to New York to learn more about what the City was doing to combat the devastating rates of obesity, which were disproportionately affecting inner city neighborhoods. I drove through some of these "food deserts" - the South Bronx, Harlem, Bed-Sty - and although I didn't expect to see places to buy healthy foods, I was struck by the number of fast food joints crammed on city blocks... that were everywhere.  No apples - but plenty of burgers and fries and shakes.  At low cost.

Fast forward 18 months and the result of this collaboration is The Apple Pushers, a 72 minute film, narrated by Edward Norton and underwritten by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund; written and directed by yours truly; produced by me, Tom Scott (founder - Nantucket Nectars), and Christine Vachon (Academy-award winning producer - Mildred Pierce, Boys Don't Cry, Far from Heaven); and Laurie Tisch as executive producer.  The project had a special screening at the Aspen Ideas Festival this past summer with the likes of Robin Schepper (Executive Director of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative), speaking after the film.

The Apple Pushers will launch in October - and our fall series of events will be posted within a few days on both the website and on Facebook.  We'd love for you to visit our website,, and "like" us on facebook

Friday, March 4, 2011


I had an epiphany yesterday. Rahfeal Gordon, who appears in TEN9EIGHT, and who recently graduated from Montclair University, has started his own inspirational speaking tour and book publishing business - aimed at people just like himself. Young people from low-income communities who have travelled his path, who have felt his pain. And who, like Rahfeal, aspire to greatness.

Rahfeal found out a month ago that TEN9EIGHT was to screen at Harvard. He called me up and asked if he could say a few words at the screening. Fast forward to yesterday. Not only was he invited to speak and to have dinner with faculty and members of the Schlesinger Library at Harvard - but he rented 14 passenger mini-van and brought with him an entourage. A remarkable entourage. High school and college students from the inner city who, like Rahfeal, were determined to make something of their lives.

They arrived at our offices, dressed in their Sunday best - and one of the young women said "We're on the Babson Campus. And later we're going to Harvard. Rahfeal has changed our lives. We've made it."


What I had never realized was that sometimes simple geography can make an enormous difference in the life and world view of what might be possible for an inner-city teenager. I hadn't thought that just stepping foot on a beautiful campus - Babson College, Harvard University - could be so empowering.

Rahfeal knew this. And he brought others with him to feel empowered and inspired. And motivated.

I am so proud to be his friend.