About this project
Have you ever wanted to make a change? Something personal, social or even political? Have you ever wondered why medicinal cannabis is still illegal in the UK?
And, are there people out there trying to change this?
GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution is a feature-length documentary that explores the medicinal use of cannabis, the patients involved & the campaign to change UK law.
Why should this story be told? Simply, it’s a story that has never been this thoroughly explored. With unrestricted access to activists and medical cannabis patients, GrassRoots lifts the lid on the people at the core of the movement within the UK. A subculture of politically driven people who feel they are forced to break the law in order to get access to the medication they need to treat their varying conditions.
GrassRoots will tell their personal story. Over the course of 3 years we explore their lives and why they campaign for change. Our film will also discuss the beneficial properties of cannabis, investigate the UK’s drug laws, and challenge the negative perceptions toward cannabis.
We also go behind the scenes into the cannabis industry and visit California, Colorado, Holland and Spain to show examples of where an industry built around cannabis is already generating sizable income and helping patients.
GrassRoots is a film about passion and dedication. You will be introduced to people committed to fighting against the odds; whilst struggling with ill health, the threat of criminal conviction and in the face of social stigma. Despite this, they fight for something they believe in.
GrassRoots was born out of a conversation on Facebook between myself (Dale Beaumont- Brown) and my cousin and main subject, Clark French. Clark and I hadn’t spoken in 12 years, but after he contacted me and explained more about his situation, intrigued I decided to pay him a visit and learn more.
Clark has Multiple Sclerosis, told me he consumes cannabis to alleviate his symptoms, he went on to describe how it benefitted his state of well-being and pain management. He called cannabis his medicine and explained it had replaced some 16 prescription medications!
My interest in his story deepened when he told me of his recent TV, radio and print media appearances to campaign for the safe access to legal, medical cannabis. Almost immediately I wanted to tell his story.
What began as a short film profiling Clark soon spiraled as I started to spend more and more time with Clark and his fellow activists. I discovered that campaigners and people who used cannabis for medical reasons were eager to tell me their story. From there I knew this would make for an important and socially relevant feature-documentary. The story of a movement from the ground up.
Fast forward three years and I have followed this story and it’s subjects back and forth across the UK, to Spain, Holland and the USA. I have interviewed dozens of people and filmed hundreds of hours of footage that we cannot wait to get to work on.
29 year old Clark was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 5 years ago whilst at university in his home town of Reading, UK. He was inspired by his step father Richard to medicate with cannabis (instead of 16 prescription medications) after he used cannabis to control his severe MS.
We have been following Clark's story (across many countries) for over two and a half years as he deals with issues within the family construct, his ties to activism and perhaps most importantly, his health and well-being.
Greg is president of the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs and a prominent member of NORML UK. He has successfully used cannabis to combat the symptoms of his Crohns disease for the past couple of years. He is a main stay in the fight for the legalisation of cannabis movement in the UK and is also a keen filmmaker.
A medical cannabis activist who was the figurehead for the legality of cannabis throughout the 1990's in California, culminating in the authoring and implementation of Proposition 215 and legal medical marijuana in 1996. Dennis Peron played a major role in changing the political debate of cannabis and civil rights as a whole in the United States.
During filming Michelle was facing legal action for the cultivation of 28 plants; her commitment to treating her MS with cannabis. Michelle's story is an example of how far an otherwise law abiding person is willing to go for something they believe in.
As well as opening the 1st cannabis coffee shop in the UK, with fellow GrassRoots participant, Colin Davies, Nol owns and runs two cannabis coffee shops in Haarlem, Holland called Willie Wortels Indica and Sativa.
Jason is the Executive Director of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) UK. He has also been blogging for the Huffington Post since the launch of the UK edition, Jason has also written for Politics.co.uk, and has appeared on the BBC and Huffington Post Live. He was Associate Producer on the cannabis documentary, The Culture High.
Tom Lloyd worked in the Police force for more than 30 years. He is a former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police, today he is a drug policy adviser on an International level.
Dale is a UK based filmmaker whose production company Elixir Media Production specialises in documentary film-making.
Dale has been making films professionally for 8 years and for fun since he was 16. “I've been making documentaries and factual films for corporate and web clients for a while and documentary always felt like my home. With GrassRoots I get to make something that is not only a riveting and interesting film, but I get the chance to explore the power of the human spirit and what social change means to so many people the world over.”
GrassRoots is his biggest and most ambitious film to date.
Ross started working for Dale’s company Elixir Media Production in January 2011. He is most passionate when taking photographs and you will see some behind the scenes stills scattered over the project.
Ross is also the associate producer, assistant editor and a researcher behind the scenes on the GrassRoots production.
Andrew has always been unhealthily obsessed by all things sonic and he uses this to his advantage working within his twin passions of music and film. Through his company Acme Original Soundtracks he has created music for a wide variety of documentaries, features and shorts over the last five or six years.
Most days he can be found tucked away in his studio, surrounded by guitars, synths, dusty old tape machines and a bewildering array of things with flashy lights. The score he is composing for GrassRoots is an attempt to blend the sound of contemporary film music with 1960s Haight Ashbury protest songs - hopefully creating something new and interesting in the process that will do justice to both Clark's story and the entire activism movement. All revolutions need a soundtrack!
Tom runs Norwich based video production company Fast Forward Media, and often collaborates with Dale and the Elixir Media Production team on a variety of projects. Tom was delighted to join the team, lending his skills as a camera operator on several shoots as part of the project.
Most often found scribbling in his notebook, capturing talks & conferences in his quirky 'sketchnote' style, Chris is also a dab hand with digital design so we've enlisted him to help us define the visual identity for GrassRoots.
Away from the markers or the keyboard he's most likely to be found nodding his head and grimacing to the monolithic riffs of all his favourite heavy bands.
What the money will be used for:
GrassRoots has nearly concluded filming; the story captured and the film ready to enter post-production.
We want the finished film to be seen by as many people as possible. This means screening GrassRoots at film festivals, in cinemas, and making it available via video-on-demand services.
In order for the film to be finished to the high standards needed to achieve these goals we need funding for the following:
- Colour correction
- A professional to compose an original score
- Stock/library footage
- Graphic design
- Marketing costs
We want GrassRoots to be seen by as many of you as possible, not just at home in the UK but around the world as well. Our ultimate goal (when the documentary is finished and edited) is to get GrassRoots onto a video-on-demand service so that you can watch the film anywhere around the world. If we could achieve this then GrassRoots could be seen by a potential audience of millions, and help to spread our subjects message.
In order to get achieve that goal first we need to take the film on the road. We intend to submit GrassRoots to selected film festivals such as Sheffield Doc/Fest, Toronto International Film Festival and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in North Carolina to name a few.
Lastly we would love for you to experience GrassRoots on the big screen. A limited cinema run in selected UK cities is something that we will push for if we achieve our funding goal of £16,750.
Risks and challenges
GrassRoots is an important film, and it is important that people see it. We have documented the opinions, actions and voice of a movement. That voice needs to be heard. If we do not raise the full amount of £16,750 we will not be able to achieve our goal of editing and completing the film before the end of 2015 and could affect our chances of a release in early 2016.
£16,750 is the minimum amount we need in order to physically finish the film. We have big plans for any additional funds raised for if/when we surpass our initial goal, which we will cover in our updates.
We have already invested a lot of time, resources and our own funds into finishing the production and filming aspect up to this point. If we do fail to fund, we will endeavour to still find the funding in order to finish the project. We've documented a message that has to be heard, and we will not give up until it is. However we don’t expect the worse to happen, we believe in our film and the community of people who want to see this story told.
GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution is set to be an insightful and important documentary that will give new voice to a subculture of people who are fighting for a significant cultural change.
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