Cannabis and Entertainment: Uniquely situated as two of the most lucrative industries in the country, and two that both cater almost strictly towards merriment. It’s only natural that they be entwined for an event like the Second Annual Cannabis Film Festival.
This week I spoke with Kevin Jodrey, (co-founder of The Ganjier and owner of Wonderland Nursery), and William “Oos” Pedro, (co-founder of The Ganjier, GM of Wonderland and one the festival’s judges). I talked to them about their experience, and insights into the event’s impact on the cannabis community at large.
Event attendees were invited to screen 13 films, all featuring cannabis in one form or another, at the Redway Playhouse in Garberville on the weekend of April 23-24. The roster of films this year presented even more diverse and eclectic ways of incorporating marijuana into the material. Some were “issue”-based, or documentary, some used cannabis as a backdrop in a larger story.
It was refreshing to see, Jodrey said: “[You’re] looking at cannabis in all these different forms, instead of… showing a movie about people getting high, or about growing dope and making money.”
Oos singled out a short Claymation film, “The Nug Nation”, and the event’s multiple documentaries: “It was basically a huge education about weed and how it came to be, and the laws, and how we ended up here. Now everyone’s still making positive things out of it.”
As Southern Humboldt affirms its relevance in the ever-evolving business of marijuana cultivation, events like the Cannabis Film Festival help showcase the plant in an accessible environment for weed-lovers and film-lovers alike. The Spring Planting Event, Golden Tarp Award or other events that emphasize the production process are by their very nature limited to industry professionals and connoisseurs of cannabis. But by incorporating an artistic and celebratory atmosphere, audiences who wouldn’t normally seek out a cannabis-themed event are included.
This, Jodrey feels, is an important step in solidifying the growing community in a legitimate way, as marijuana hovers on the legislative precipice: “Because cannabis has been so illegal, the citizens of the country have never been able to truly let outsiders in, and for the first time people will see Humboldt in a way they’ve never seen it.” Indeed, this year 75% of the selected filmmakers attended from other parts of the country.
The Garberville Town Square was packed with vendors from all areas of the industry. Attendees who opted for tickets to the VIP lounge enjoyed gourmet catering, all provided by local restaurants. Even a cannabis juice bar was set up with fresh leaves donated by Wonderland Nursery.
There was a spirit of collaboration that Jodrey is confident benefits everyone involved and the entire industry: “If you’re a cultivator or manufacturer and you’re going to pay for an event like this one or any other local Canna events, you’re gonna get something out of it of value, hopefully more than you paid. It’s worked well for the vendors, and it’s worked well for the participants.”
Beyond one’s motivation to see some unique independent films, or getting a glimpse into the expansive community role that weed plays in the Emerald Triangle, it’s worth checking out for the same reason any popular festival is. As festival founder and executive director Kellie B. Dodds said, “Like the plant, the festival brings enjoyment, enlightenment and entertainment in all the different forms it takes.”
The festival concluded with its Judge’s Award (won by a mockumentary, “How to Grow Your Own”) and Audience Award (“Game On”, another feature- length comedy).