Setting Stories in Motion (and Movies to See!)

by Donald Harrison

With the kind of work I do through my creative company — 7 Cylinders Studio — I get to interact with an ever-evolving cross section of our community.

 I want to highlight a handful of those criss-crossing clients to survey our local landscape through the lens of video and provide some of the more compelling projects I’ve been fortunate to produce these past few years. 

The Huron River Watershed Council is one of our region’s stalwarts for protecting and strengthening our area water systems. They’re one of our studio’s longest-running clients and we’re currently working on our 11th video (highlighting their extensive, important water monitoring program). Enjoy the first of these “micro docs” that launched our work together, featuring Ypsilanti’s Schultz Outfitters and the strong fly fishing culture in the Huron River.

Girls Group is another excellent non-profit in the Ann Arbor area that’s produced videos with us for several years.  They provide direct support to girls in middle school and high school to help become first-generation college graduates. We’ve been invited to share some of the stories of participating girls. This one features the indelible performer, activist Dea. 

U-M Institute for the Humanities Gallery is a “hidden gem” of our area, tucked a block from State & Liberty in downtown Ann Arbor, and featuring some of the most fascinating artists across a tremendously broad spectrum.  The Institute sometimes partners across campus and within the community in ways that build bridges and explore new connections, such as the recent “Border Crossers” project by artist Chico McMurtrie

One of my favorites from last year, artist Tracy Snelling, explored our area doing research for her miniature sculpture exhibition: 

Arbor Teas is one of our area’s small business brands that’s steadily been growing for over a decade, providing many of the world’s finest organic loose leaf teas. Our studio recently completed a series of visual how-to videos to teach some of the finer points of tea brewing. A few years ago we were able to visit one of their biggest organic tea suppliers in Darjeeling, India, and produced a short film that played in film festivals across the U.S. — enjoy!


Growing Hope in Ypsilanti produces a biweekly farmers market, in addition to many programs related to local food and education. To promote their Building Blocks program — free workshops to help support market vendors — our studio got to visit Old City Acres and share the story of Alex Ball:


Washtenaw County recently commissioned our studio to produce a 4-part series to help educate younger people about voting in Michigan. Working with an awesome collection of local college, high school and recent grads, we created short scripts for this fun, informative approach. Part 1 “How to Register to Vote in Michigan” is published — watch, learn and share!

Donald Harrison

7 Cylinders Studio:



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