Filmmakers from around the world will be represented in Southern Humboldt on a subject that’s relevant to the area — the use, cultivation and culture of cannabis.
The second annual Cannabis Film Festival takes place April 23-24, with films screened at the Redwood Playhouse on Sproul Creek Road. The festival’s mission, according to its website, is “awareness-raising through film.”
For Kellie B. Dodds, the festival’s founder and CEO, the festival is an extension of her work with the 707 Cannabis College in Garberville, which she co-founded. “This is exactly the path I’m on,” she said. “I care about correct information and offering a different view of cannabis, where it can be taken seriously and be a part of reality.”
The festival showcases 13 independent films ranging from documentaries to feature-length comedies. The documentaries include “Druglawed,” a film from New Zealand that reports on that country’s punitive drug laws.
Another documentary, “Cannabis vs. Climate Change,” explores the carbon sequestration potential of hemp. “American Drug War 2” is the second film directed by Kevin Booth, whose films are described on their production company’s website as probing “America’s dubious relationship with drugs” and suggesting that “illegal trafficking is embedded in the U.S. economy.”
On the lighter side, there’s “Dude, Where’s My Ferret?” a comedy short produced in British Columbia, which spoofs the movie “Dude, Where’s My Car?” Another comedy, “How to Grow Your Own,” is a feature-length Los Angeles production that’s framed as a film within a film.
There’s more to the festival than movies, however. It spans multiple locations, with Redwood Playhouse hosting the screenings and an award ceremony, and vendors and entertainment stationed at Garberville Town Square.
A VIP lounge/medication area will be set up at the Garberville Veteran’s Hall, with food provided by local restaurateurs and a “meet and greet” gathering at Cecil’s Bar will include a visit from Fiona Ma, a member of the State Board of Equalization and a former state assembly member who advocates for tax reforms to accommodate the cannabis industry.
The festival’s website points out that its second year coincides with legal and social changes that have shifted marijuana further into the mainstream. Support for this year’s festival is “pretty momentous for us,” Dodds said, with its sponsors including the Garberville-Redway Chamber of Commerce.
“The chamber has been very supportive and helped me in so many ways to bring this to fruition this year,” she continued.
The festival’s mission is aligned with the chamber’s goals. “In doing the festival, I want to bring more tourism to my community and to encourage tourism in a different light than an event like the Cannabis Cup,” said Dodds. “We’re bringing Hollywood to Humboldt.”
She views the festival as a locally-significant event that provides a fitting venue for independent artists.
“These independent filmmakers have put a lot of work into their films and they want to come here because we’re Garberville, we’re Humboldt,” said Dodds. “I’m so grateful that those in my community and outside of it are embracing this idea and this opportunity.”
For Dodds, the festival adds to the culture of a place she views as home. “I came here 10 years ago and I love my town and wish to live nowhere else,” she said.
For more information on the festival, visit its website at cannabisfilmfestival.com.