We did it!! Wow, there are no words left for the gratitude we are feeling right now. Nearly 500 people from around the world made this possible with small donations of $25, $50, $100... and now we have the strength of that community behind us as we move into the next phase of making CODE OF THE WEST. Thank you for making this possible by spreading the word and pitching in.
In the final hours of this campaign, we're setting a reach goal of $35,000 to cover the added costs of Kickstarter fees and credit card processing fees. If we can reach that goal, we can put the rest of the money directly into editing!
Three years ago, I set out to tell the human story behind America’s failed War on Drugs and the state-by-state battle over regulation of medical marijuana. My research brought me to Helena, Montana where a battle was unfolding. I met Tom Daubert, Chris Lindsey and Chris Williams and heard about Richard Flor, co-founders of a medical marijuana business called Montana Cannabis that was trying to create a model for responsible caregiving in compliance with Montana state law, even while others were fighting to repeal that law. I started to shoot their stories for the documentary film CODE OF THE WEST.
Three years later, we’ve finished a first cut of the film and it premiered to critical acclaim in March at SXSW. But like many documentaries, the story lives on after the cameras stop rolling, and there have been significant developments since our premiere.
Since we premiered at SXSW, all four men have been indicted by the federal authorities, despite the state laws protecting their livelihood.
Chris Williams is currently behind bars. He was convicted on federal charges that carry a mandatory minimum of 80+ years in prison. Tom Daubert is serving five years probation after his defense lawyers used the film at his sentencing hearing. And Chris Lindsey is waiting for his sentencing hearing.
But it's Richard Flor's story that is most devastating. Sentenced to five years, he died tragically in federal custody this August.
Their stories are tragic examples of a sad reality: Even though 18 states have legalized medical marijuana and an overwhelming majority of Americans support these laws, law-abiding citizens in those states are still arrested and imprisoned by federal authorities every year. When it comes to drug policies, our justice system is unjust.
We need your help to update CODE OF THE WEST and bring these stories to a national audience.
We just got back from shooting in Montana and now we’re going back into the editing room to add these vital updates from Tom, Chris and Richard’s stories to the film. By telling their full stories, we can extend the impact that the film has already made and give it a much better chance of being aired on national television, bringing their stories to millions of homes and people who can act on their behalf.
The first version of CODE OF THE WEST has already played at dozens of film festivals, colleges, and grassroots screenings in towns and cities across America. These screenings have helped spark productive cross-partisan discussions about marijuana laws and are building a movement of organizers, advocates and informed citizens committed to reforming drug policy.
Become a Supporter
We’re raising more than $30,000 on Kickstarter to help us build on this momentum and use the film to fight for sensible drug policy reform so that medical marijuana growers like Chris Williams never have to face an 80+ year prison sentence again.
We hope you’ll consider making a pledge!
Whether it’s $5, $25, $100, $1000 or more, your contribution will help us update CODE OF THE WEST and bring these stories to the nation’s attention.
How the Money Will Be Spent
If we reach our goal of $30,000 by December 5, we’ll be able to reach two major objectives for the project:
1. Hire an award-winning editor to update the film with new scenes. If we're successful, the new cut will be ready by Spring 2013!
2. Work with our current partner organizations, as well as engage additional organizations and influencers, in order to build the grassroots campaign to reform these failed drug policies and bring the film to cities and towns across America in 2013.
But all of this stuff adds up!
Washington State and Colorado just legalized marijuana for adult use regardless of medical condition, Massachusetts voted for medical marijuana, and Illinois appears to be on the verge to follow -- this is just the beginning of a new chapter in the national drug reform saga. We want to share CODE OF THE WEST across America so that citizens voting on these issues can make informed decisions based the lessons learned in Montana.
We appreciate anything you can do to help us reach our goal. Any additional money raised will go into the campaign to bring the film to a wider audience.
Help us spread the word
Whether or not you can make a pledge, you can still help by spreading the word on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social media.
Tell your friends about the film on Twitter by linking to: http://kck.st/VBoNW9
Or use these pre-written tweets for your convenience!
If you have any questions or ideas about people we should contact, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REMEMBER, WE DON’T GET A DIME IF WE DON’T REACH OUR GOAL. SO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ANY SUPPORT YOU CAN GIVE US!
The Code of the West Team
Update: New Reward!
We're happy to announce a special reward for the committed medical marijuana advocate: a Membership pass to the upcoming National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference, hosted by Americans for Safe Access in Washington, DC. The first two backers who pledge $750 or more will receive a conference pass plus private screening of CODE OF THE WEST w/ filmmaker Q&A, DVD, poster, t-shirt and exclusive updates from the edit room. Travel to DC is not included.
If you make a pledge, you could receive some cool CODE OF THE WEST merchandise, including DVDs, t-shirts and posters. Check out the details in the right hand column!
Reviews of the film
In the anguished struggle for personal freedom and responsible public policy, Code will turn heads and change minds, not just in the battleground state of Montana but throughout the country.
— Norm Stamper, Seattle Chief of Police (Ret.) and Author of Breaking Rank
Code of the West is a must-see for anyone interested in drug reform and patients' – or states' – rights.
— Jordan Smith, Austin Chronicle
"Code of West" brilliantly captures Montana’s debates on cannabis... Outstanding job... The cinematography is stunning.
— Charles Johnson, Helena Independent Record
Meet the Team
Rebecca Richman Cohen, Director/Producer/Writer
Rebecca is an Emmy Award nominated filmmaker and a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School. WAR DON DON, her first film, won the Special Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival and was nominated for two Emmy awards. In 2010 Rebecca was profiled in Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces in Independent Film as an “up-and-comer poised to shape the next generation of independent film." She is a 2012-2013 Soros Justice Fellow.
Get to know Rebecca more in this interview on Spoiler Alert Radio:
Francisco Bello, Producer/Editor/Writer
Francisco is an OSCAR® and three time Emmy nominee. His directorial debut commissioned by HBO Documentary Films was EL ESPÍRITU DE LA SALSA, which premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Francisco is currently editing the film OUR NIXON, and co-directing MU XIN: NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND, both due for release in 2013.
Lindsay Utz, Editor
In 2012 Lindsay was awarded the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship in honor of Errol Morris' late editor. In 2010-2011 she edited the documentary BULLY which went on to win several festival awards and, purchased by The Weinstein Company, had a national theatrical release in March 2012. Since completing BULLY, Lindsay worked as an editor on the ballet documentary First Position; edited Buoy, an experimental narrative feature; and cut two episodes of The Fashion Fund, a six-part documentary series for Vogue Magazine, which premiered on Hulu.
Sean Flynn, Campaign Manager / Director of Digital Outreach
Sean is a documentary producer, director and programmer. He is the Director of the Points North Documentary Forum, a two-day conference program featuring leading industry decision makers at the Camden International Film Festival. Sean is a co-founder of the DocYard screening series in Cambridge, MA. He produced two feature documentaries with Boston-based Principle Pictures - BEYOND BELIEF and THE LIST - both of which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. Sean was a 2012 Fulbright Fellow in Mumbai, India, and he recently relocated to New Orleans.
Risks and challenges
We've already completed one version of the film it has played at several film festivals so we're confident that the updated film will get finished! However, as part of our outreach campaign we want to work with lots of local, grassroots advocacy organizations committed to marijuana policy reform across the country. We've already started this process as well, but it will take a good deal of time and energy to see it through to completion.
We want this film to be a conversation starter about the drug policies in America and we want people to see it from all sides of the debate. It will be a challenge to convince everyone that what happens to a medical marijuana grower in Montana affects them - but it does!
Thank you again for visiting our page and supporting our film.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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