Real Stoners, Fake News –
Hollywood’s green carpet rolled out for the Doobious Sources premiere at 4:20 p.m. on Saturday, January 20th at the Arena Cinelounge. Members of the cannabis community, like the High Hipsters (pg 44), Medicinal Mike and Betty Khronic, gathered for the event and cannabis mixer. Phoebe Schiff, Marketing Strategist, coordinated the professional, pot focused event, which included giant doobies for posing purposes.
Gravitas Production is distributing the film, which screened at the Denver Film Society’s 420 Week, the Cannabis Film Festival in Garberville, California, the Film Society’s 420 Week, the New York City Film Festival, and the Maine Cannabis Film Festival.
This is not your typical stoner movie. The tragic heroes, The Reg and Zorn, are productive potheads. They have real jobs as investigative journalists for Instant Karma Investigative News Service. They just happen to smoke weed, all the time.
Out of a dare, Doobious Sources was created. The challenge: make a feature film that introduces a new cinematic language, isn’t art film pretentious, and conforms to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) ultra- low budget agreement.
Clif Lord, writer/director/producer, said he portrayed the type of stoner that he knew, while normalizing cannabis use without calling direct attention to it. The Reg and Zorn make plans and accomplish them, while smoking joints. They are not the negative, stereotype stoners melted to the couch. True, these guys do make some pretty stupid moves, like trying to discreetly tail their subject in an oversized RV, but that is because they are humans and humans do dumb things sometimes, Lord explains, “don’t blame the weed.”
Jeff Lorch stars as Reginald Block-Hunsleigh, aka The Reg, and Jason Weissbrod brings Zorn Tappadapo to life. The Reg and Zorn film every single moment they share because they are paranoid about a previous scandal The Reg pulled. Weissbrod and Lorch worked together on previous projects, and have experience as cameramen, which was important in the characters they played. A lot of scenes are captured by Lorch and Weissbrod themselves. It enhances the honest feeling. Creagen Dow plays Ky Kittridge, a young journalist just starting out and looking for guidance in the news world, or so it seems. The jokes on the spelling of his name Ky, the Greek spelling he insists, had the Cinelounge rolling with laughs. Joe Cortese as Magnus Martindale brings the pain in this film, and provides a solid, sharp contrast to the protagonists. He also handles the camera a few times.
The film opens with a hot box smoke session in the front seat of the Instant Karma News van. This is my favorite scene because the lighting and framing immediately sell the situation, and it feels real. It’s hazy, the colors are saturated and blown out in a surreal look, akin to something I’ve seen on a potent Sativa hybrid high, on a warm day in the car. Though this is a fiction piece, Lord included specific elements to make it feel like actual found footage. There is a single shot on Zorn coughing and turning red in the face that is easily relatable and accurate. During the Q and A after the premier, Weissbrod and Lord both confirm that real weed was not openly used for filming due to SAG and other union regulations.
Lord’s direction and the actors’ abilities to work with a camera is exceptional. All moving shots, which consists of large portions of the film, were captured by the talent. With a beautiful balance of fast paced shots and holds on certain moments, the editing by Miki Miyazaki and Concetta Halstead created a nice, memorable juxtaposition. E. Shepherd Stevenson and Christopher Lord scored the music for the film. Combined with framing and editing, the music helped drive the aesthetic of a youthful, stoner garageband.
Even if their goals or ambitions are questionable, dubious in fact, that is who they are as characters in the film and it unites them. “I wanted to create a world where they don’t have to hide [pot use]. This movie is about normalizing cannabis use and cannabis culture,” Lord told me during a phone call the following week. “After seeing the movie a few times now in front of large audiences, it really feels like a bonding experience, like we all sesh-ed together.”
The Blair Witch Project was a style inspiration for Doobious Sources, along with Cheech and Chong.
One of the major departures from a typical stoner story, Lord explains, is that cannabis use is never moralized in Doobious Sources. The Reg and Zorn may be immature, dumb dudes trying to hustle a fake news scam, but weed is not the problem. Cannabis is neither good nor bad, but simply the contents of one’s pipe. This is a refreshing turn from the obsession of either demonizing or ridiculing pot use in general culture and film.
The costuming by Jeannie Flynn adds humor and style, and was notable throughout the film. For an investigative confrontation captured on video, The Reg runs across the street in a sport coat, looking very professional. Then, as he gets further across the street, we see dangling overalls because for him it makes sense: the camera can only see his top half, in the sport coat, looking professional. That felt realistic, and absolutely hilarious.
This fun film is a great addition to stoner movie culture; it brings a fresh look and feel, while incorporating old classics like the hot-boxed van. It is definitely worth checking out at least once, and forming one’s own opinion on the film. Though I would have loved to see more female characters, I appreciated the realness of pot, men, and fresh filmmaking.
Doobious Sources is available to rent or own on Dish Network, Cox, Charter, Verizon Fios, iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu and more from Gravitas Ventures. To watch the trailer and get the scoop, visit DoobiousSources.com, also available on Amazon, iTunes US and iTunes Canada.