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Spotlight on Cannabis Crusaders

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Nova Scotia Documentary - Cannabis Crusaders
Cannabis Crusaders director, Donna Davies. 

Cannabis Crusaders is an upcoming documentary produced by Cannabis Pictures Inc., as Canada’s marijuana industry ramps up, demand for medical marijuana is on the rise.

Cannabis Crusaders will delve into the constantly evolving world of medical marijuana. The film will follow the stories of consumers and entrepreneurs determined to carve out a place for themselves in the marijuana marketplace. We caught up with director Donna Davies to learn more about the production.

Why this production? Why now?
Honestly, this is a topic that is forefront on the minds of Canadians. Marijuana is the fastest growing commercial industry in North America. There hasn’t been this much excitement around an industry since they repealed the prohibition. With legalization just around the corner, demand for medical marijuana continues to escalate. Medical marijuana is being used to treat a growing number of illnesses and conditions, and the results are promising. Like with most new growth industries, everyone is trying to get in on the action.

What goes into filming a production like this?
The most important element that makes a film like this work is building trust with the interviewees. We interviewed people who are using marijuana for PTSD or other serious health related issues. This is a very sensitive subject and you must build trust with the people who are willing to share their stories. You also need to be very aware of the fact that this is a new and heavily regulated industry. We needed a high level of access to get inside Health Canada licensed medical marijuana grow-ops. We were filming inside a facility with intense security, cameras everywhere, strict health, and safety regulations. We had to suit up in full protective clothes, gloves, hairnets, and shoe protectors. We were required to wipe down all of the camera gear with alcohol.

Tell us about the crew? How many people are involved?
We were dealing with a highly sensitive subject matter, often shooting in really tight, heavily secured locations, so we needed minimal crew members. I was directing, along with a camera-person who did sound, and a camera assistant to help with the lighting, the dolly, and the crane.

Why Nova Scotia? Where are you most excited to shoot in?
This story is very relevant in Nova Scotia right now. We’re seeing more and more dispensaries pop up here. There’s a huge interest in our medical community here to understand how marijuana can be used to help people. Several professors at Dalhousie University were consulted by the federal marijuana task force and are well versed in all aspects of the subject matter, from legislation to social impact. Nova Scotian’s are anxious to share their stories, many have reached out to us through social media and agreed to be interviewed for the film.

How long does it take to put together a production like this?
The entire process will take about three years. In this case, I first pitched the idea of following a few Maritime companies who were growing marijuana to CBC’s Peter Hall in November of 2015. I eventually received a letter from CBC, which triggered the CMF Pre-development fund. I received a license from CBC in October of 2016. The film will be delivered in July 2017.

When and where can we expect to see the documentary?
The one- hour documentary will air on CBC Regional, and The Documentary Channel this fall and a half-hour version will air on Land and Sea at a later date.

Where can people learn more?
They can check out our website Ruby Tree Films for updates on the production.

Cannabis Crusaders is qualified to receive funding through the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund. Learn more about filming in Nova Scotia and accessing the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund.

Use our Film Fund Estimator tool to estimate funding available for your Nova Scotia production.