It’s a busy day for Mark Leisher in the office of Mark Leisher Productions at Bethesda Green. The phone is ringing, emails are coming in and people are stopping by. But Leisher is focused on his current project and passion – a 30-minute documentary about the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve.
“I work as a one-man band," Leisher said. :I’m doing it all on my own and that’s tough as a film maker.”
A 30-Minute Documentary to Showcase the History and Promise of the Ag Reserve
Leisher got involved with the Ag Reserve through the Montgomery Countryside Alliance when he learned the group wanted to create a short film.
“This is a great story,” said Leisher. “The Ag Reserve is a model for the rest of the country to show how to protect your green space.”
Starting with a four-minute trailer to garner initial support, Leisher has filmed interviews with farmers, landowners, nonprofits and local businesses and shot extensive footage of the reserve. Leisher’s passion for the documentary is infectious, and interest has snowballed. With more than half of their funding secured, the Montgomery Countryside Alliance is currently raising the final funds needed to complete the documentary, now entitled ‘Growing Legacy’ and slated for completion in 2012.
Leisher praises the staff of the Montgomery Countryside Alliance for making the documentary a reality, especially Executive Director Caroline Taylor. “She’s a huge asset,” said Leisher.
Film School, International Travel and Support from Bethesda Green
Leisher has worked as a free lance filmmaker and cinematographer for the past 10 years.
“I decided in 1999 that I wanted to go to film school,"Leisher said. "I took school seriously for once in my life and graduated at the top of my class. I’ve traveled the world. ”
During his filmmaking career, Leisher’s focus on green media has steadily increased. Returning to Bethesda, Leisher was accepted into the Bethesda Green Incubator program where he receives an office and the opportunity to work with other green entrepreneurs and Bethesda Green staff.
“One of the best things about Bethesda Green is the group of very talented, cool, energetic folks that can give me advice," Leisher said. "A lot of things I do come from my gut. When I come up with an idea I just want to go. Having a creative side to you doesn’t always get your information portrayed in the right way. Their subtle hints and tips really help out,” says Leisher.
In addition to producing, filming and directing ‘Growing Legacy’, Leisher is involved in a number of commercial and nonprofit films and videos. Commercial clients of Mark Leisher Productions include MOMS Organic Market, the Resnick Group and Congressional Bank.
Leisher has also launched Greenroads TV, a social media platform, and Media 4 Green, a grassroots nonprofit organization to showcase green efforts and causes, and has recently agreed to be a part of the First Annual Reel Water Film Festival slated for mid-June in Gaithersburg.
“I want to make a difference," Leisher said. "A lot of local organizations want me to help them. My talent is behind the lens as a cinematographer. I have a knack for that.”