KELOWNA – For one local filmmaker working out of a basement suite, an Academy Award nomination came as quite a surprise.
“Our goal is always just to make something that is thought-provoking and that the audience will like,” says Kelowna native and now Academy Award nominated film maker Adam Scorgie. “But when you find out you qualify out of the thousands of docs that are made every year… it was a real victory in itself.”
Scorgie’s latest film, The Culture High, is a follow-up to the hit documentary The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, that looked at B.C.’s most profitable business - marijuana.
“This one is even better, in my personal opinion,” he says. “We did a good job with the Union but to really top that one we had to get a substantial budget and go for bigger heights. It goes much deeper into human culture. We go into human behaviour and why the argument surrounding marijuana has become so polarized that there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.”
Scorgie, who lives in Edmonton but was born and raised in Kelowna, says he thought he was finished making “pot docs”.
“We just received way too many emails saying drug policy is a bigger issue now than it was when we did the Union,” he says. “So we stopped trying to fight it and decided to do another one.”
Not only were fans demanding a follow up feature, they were willing to pay money to help make it happen. A 2012 Kickstarter campaign raised almost $250,000 from 3,400 backers.
“The money (is) a great help obviously but also the fact that we could then go to distributors and show there is a demand,” he says. “That opened the eyes of a lot of distributors.”
Not only did Scorgie’s film catch the attention of critics and awards committees but someone else who means much more to him.
His stepfather, the man who financed The Union, called him soon after the news broke.
“My dad just gave me a really nice phone call,” he says. “He said ‘Adam, I’m proud of you, you already won just by getting this far’. It was awesome to hear from someone who believed in me from the beginning that he’s proud of me. He’s been my rock from the beginning so it was awesome to get that call.”
The Culture High features celebrities like Snoop Dog, Wiz Khalifa, Sir Richard Branson and Joe Rogan. All contributed to the film free of charge and have gone a long way in convincing viewers the film is worth checking out.
“Unless you’re Michael Moore or Morgan Spurlock, docs don’t get huge marketing campaigns,” he says. “Other than what we do on social media there’s no marketing of the film. It just gets released and hopefully people find it. Having a few big names really helped get us (get) noticed.”
The Culture High is currently available on iTunes, Shaw, Telus and Rogers Video on Demand and will make its broadcast debut on SuperChannel February 10.
It has an 8.5/10 rating on IMDB.com and will be available on NetFlix March 1 in 70 different countries and in 15 different languages.
For more information visit The Culture High website.
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