Chicago urban farmer in Mailchimp docuseries Essentials


Mailchimp, VICE, and Arts & Sciences, launches the self-shot docuseries Essentials that follows nine essential workers navigating their lives during Covid-19 in various cities around the United States.

The show focuses on often less-heard-about employees and small business owners who are exploring ways to modify their capabilities to provide needed services to their communities.

The five-part, first-person series, which filmed between the end of March and July, will provide an in-depth look at the business owners and their employees who managed to step up to the plate during a global pandemic.

These workers are bringing a new meaning to ‘essential,’ telling their stories in real-time.

These include a restaurant owner who has transitioned her restaurant to a market filled with locally made goods; a laundry service that is cleaning the clothes of first responders at no charge; a Houston-based doula dealing with the increased need of advocacy for expectant mothers; a community organiser and non-profit worker with three decades experience providing food and housing resources her Latinx neighbourhood; an urban farmer in the South Side of Chicago who offers fresh produce and opportunities for residents to grow their own food; an independent record store owner who has turned his shop into a temporary shipping center; a long time bike courier in New York City; an obituary writer in New Orleans focused on telling the stories of pandemic victims; and a truck driver negotiating a trucking industry that has had to reconsider its safety practices. All are striving to help their communities while the pandemic rages on in real-time.

Directed entirely from afar by Arts & Sciences director Todd Krolczyk, the series features evocative imagery collected by the cast, who were guided by lists provided for them by Todd. 

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Says Todd: “In the middle of this unfathomable loss, there’s so much work to be done, so many things to figure out, and so many problems to solve. I wanted to showcase the resilience of these people, everyday heroes who are just like us. These moments in our lives can motivate and change us in ways we never thought possible.” 

“Essentials provides a stunning look into what people are capable of during a global pandemic,” adds John Benson, executive producer at Arts & Sciences. “The show is a quiet document of the times presenting the nuances in people’s lives today, without being a news report.”  

Timely and timeless, the show invites the viewer to become a part of this world where people are caring for one another ferociously – enough to put their own lives, safety, and money on the line. These intimate stories hold all the cliffhangers and emotional variations of dramatic episodic television, while the cast members improvise, make mistakes, and try again. The series doesn’t offer a solution to the crisis, but rather portraits of selflessness and resilience in these seemingly impossible times. 

Arts & Sciences was started nine years ago as a boutique production company that specialises in producing award-winning advertising content, music videos, fine art projects, and original documentaries and feature films. Located in West Hollywood and NYC, Arts & Sciences represents a diverse group of top directors and creators. Arts & Sciences was named a Creativity A-List Production Company for the past five years in a row. Every major advertising award show has recognised our work: The Cannes Lions, The Clios, AICP Awards, D&ADs, The One Show, and the Andys. Our original content work has been featured in the New Frontiers showcase at the Sundance Film Festival, The New Yorker, Nowness, & Purple Magazine. Arts & Sciences has produced work for every major global brand, including Google, Apple, Facebook, Nike, AT&T, Samsung, Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota, American Express, MLB, the NFL, etc. 

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