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Pot Documentary Has Local Filmmaker On A Roll


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A Kelowna man’s documentary film about the marijuana industry is making waves on the film festival circuit.

The Union: the business of getting high, won outstanding feature documentary honours at the Winnipeg International Film Festival last month. Next month, it is slated to appear at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

And the film’s producers are hoping to make the cut when the Vancouver festival announces its roster on Sept. 8, said Adam Scorgie, 27, who stars in the film as an interviewer and is its executive director.

“We didn’t want to make a hippie film,” that celebrates marijuana use, said Scorgie. “We wanted to bring up the facts and let people know, even if they aren’t directly involved, how it affects society.”

The movie looks at the reasons marijuana continues to be illegal in both Canada and the United States, even though a number of government reports, including one by the Canadian senate, calls for pot to be legalized. It then examines how the illicit industry, reported to be worth $7 billion to the B.C. economy, operates and who profits from it.

In the film, Scorgie interviews celebrities like Tommy Chong and Ultimate Fighting’s Joe Rogan, as well as Senator Larry Campbell, Vancouver’s ex-mayor and a former member of the RCMP drug squad; Norm Stamper, a former Seattle chief of police; and Jack Cole, who used to be a U.S. undercover narcotics officer. All of them say marijuana should be legal.

When his father, Bud Scor*gie, who owned Cheetah’s nightclub, died in 2003, Adam returned to his hometown of Kelowna. He’d been in New York, where he was working as an actor and model, appearing on soap operas and attending film school. At the time he’d just come up with the idea for the film. New York production companies he’d talked to wanted too much money to make the film so he found his team in Vancouver. “Canada is actually well-known for documentaries,” said Scorgie, who made the movie with producers Graeme Flannigan, Stephen Green, Kieran Maguire and director Brett Harvey.

Their intention was to focus just on the renowned B.C. industry but as they started the interviews, they realized they were dealing with a much bigger picture, said Scorgie, forcing them to broaden their scope to include the whole continent.

Scorgie grew up in the bar business, working Cheetah’s coat check when he was 15, manning the door when he was 18 and bartending when he was 19. He saw first hand how much wealth was generated by local grow operations.

“You put two and two together. A 19-year-old comes in and drops $2,000,” he said. “And buys everyone a drink.”

He also knew people who worked either as growers, or as clippers, trimming the plants before they are sold. “I think its pretty hard not to know people if you’ve grown up in B.C,” he said.

Scorgie says he was surprised at what he learned making the film. “Before this I was against marijuana,” he said. “I’m not even a pot smoker.” But now he thinks pot should be legal and regulated like alcohol.

The film cost around $300,000 to make. The biggest backer is Scorgie’s stepfather, Jim Wright, who works for Cameron Oil Industries in Texas.

The accolades in Winnipeg have already netted the film offers for distribution deals, one for the college and campus rights in North America and another for the international rights.

“We’ve politely declined for now,” said Scorgie. The plan is to do the festival circuit for six months, with the hope of scoring a larger distribution deal that will include rights for domestic and international release as well as DVD rights.

Scorgie says he hopes to move back to the U.S., either to Los Angeles or back to New York, with his girlfriend Lauren Harris and their nine-month old daughter, Riley.

He wants to get back to acting.

“Hopefully, with a little steam from this, it will get me into some rooms I couldn’t get into before,” he said.

News Mod: CoZmO - 420 Magazine
Source: Kelowna Capital News (Kelowna, B.C.)
Author: Adrian Nieoczym
Contact: anieoczym@kelownacapnews.com
Copyright: 2007 Kelowna Capital News
Website: Kelowna Capital News
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