Monday, 27 June 2011

01 littlemargiedoc-blog

"If it´s Monday it must be Maggy."  That´s what Eki (Halkka) says when I check in at the beginning of the week from where ever I am. He´s my long-time photographer/editor/co-director, co-scriptwriter, co-conspirator. little margie production is our small film company located in Helsinki, Finland. For the last 17 years we´ve made cultural documentaries, mostly for the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE), with some international distribution. We´re a mom and pop operation but have managed to sell most of the ideas we´ve pitched. And have got financing from various sources, including EU Media Programme Development and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Marihuanaland" our latest project, which is in post-production, is a big switch. It was like going back to the beginning because so far we have financed it ourselves.  We got the idea in August 2010 after reading an article in the Economist about Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California, the trade school that teaches you everything you want or need to know about cannabis. And proposition 19 was on the November 2010 ballot that, if it had passed, would have made possession of small amounts of pot legal for anyone over 21.  We thought we had to be there when the votes came in. So we took the plunge and booked tickets for me, Eki and Antti (Hacklin), our steadicam operator/sound-man/photographer.

I went to Oakland in advance to check on locations and knock on doors to get interviews. Before the guys came, the last week in October, I took the two day course at Oaksterdam University.  Practically the minute Eki and Antti got off the plane we started working and running.  It was a week chockablock with everything we could find, or anyone we could talk to, related to the marihuana business. We interviewed 14 people including Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam, Dale Sky Jones, the chancellor, Steve DeAngelo, managing director of Harborside Health Clinic, the Rolls-Royce of medical marijuana dispensaries and Terance Hallinan, former district attorney from San Francisco and advocate of legalizing cannabis for recreational use. We plan to finish the project in August.  Today I told Eki it felt a bit sad that we were coming toward the end. Now the tough task of distribution is in front of us.

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