I’m on my way to the Redwood Curtain, but not to score some Humboldt Royal Kush. This time it’s to see what’s happening at Kellie Butterfield Dodds’ Cannabis Film Festival.
Kellie B’s first film festival begins May 2 in Garberville. poof! So we have our own Sundance! Sorry, I meant Bud dance. And worldwide!
Before heading north this morning, I opened an email from Finnish filmmaker Sampsa Huttunen, the writer, producer, and director of the documentary Kasvukausi (Growing Season). Huttunen’s documentary focuses on a man’s heroic two-year quest to legally grow cannabis in Finland amid confusing laws and constant police attention. Kellie B. has it on screen because Huttunen’s story comes very close to home.
While it is perfectly legal to grow poppies in Finland because of their good looks and the elegance it adds to a junkie’s front yard, for example, growing cannabis is downright criminal.
Look around you. Pot is now practically legal in California – the feeling some people have that legalization has already happened is what I like to call “grassnost.” And we’re going beyond acceptance – we’re in the era of cannabis mainstreaming. And why not: what better combination is there than movies and cannabis?
“I told you it could happen,” Kellie says with a wink as we greet. “The cool thing is the way the city has committed itself. Garberville wants this to happen.”
She is not alone in her enthusiasm. “This is a great opportunity for our small town to show off,” said Cinnamon Paula, the executive director of the Garberville-Redway Chamber of Commerce. She wanted to talk about all the local establishments that will benefit from the tourism of an international film festival, but I saw that there was something else on her mind.
A weed-only movie party? Real?
“I have to be a little careful here,” Paula said. “We will soon see a retail model in our state for cannabis. We support the idea of promoting forward thinking ideas and educating the public.”
Kellie B. echoes those sentiments back in her office with a playful militant fist that jubilantly falls back into her office chair, laughing seriously. “It’s okay,” she said. ‘We get a number of films sent in. Now we need to get our judges in place and we should be pretty good. I have a great staff… very dedicated.”
I had to ask her the big unspoken: “How do you get a project like this off the ground?”
“Well, it’s the first year,” she laughed before getting serious with me. Kellie B. is a business woman after all.
“You have to start somewhere,” she said. “And the Cannabis Film Festival is more than a dream. Humboldt is of course the location, so now we just have to make it happen.”
Attention, potential film festival sponsors: Kellie B. is watching you.
Soon, downtown Garberville’s cafes will be overflowing with moviegoers giving thumbs up or down to the latest 420 buddy movie while sipping on a multi-armed bong. Business deals will be made. Some include buying movies for distribution. And deals are sealed with swag bags full of silver screen plans and glass jars with Blue Dreams and a handshake.
And somewhere in a back office laughing, trying to hold on to her swinging desk chair, Kellie B. Dodds will say, “I told you it could happen.”
Cannabis Film Festival
Schedule and trailers: