Star Leaf, from filmmaker Richard Cranor, is sure getting a lot of online press -- and with good reason, it's quite likely the most unique, and appreciably obscure science-fiction film you'll see this year!
In it, a group of friends set off to find a secret forest of marijuana hidden deep in the Olympic Mountains. Legend has it the plants are of extraterrestrial origin, and two ex-Marines among the group hope it will cure their PTSD born from hard combat in Afghanistan. What happens next is... well, trippy.
We caught up with Cranor, who also stars in the movie, to speak about the highs that come from partaking in his Star Leaf.
How much of this movie is based on true events? Sorry, I had to ask... ha!
Nah, that’s a great question. And the truth is (get the straight-jacket ready) a lot! Ever since I was a kid I’ve had encounters with what I will call “non-physical intelligences.” Ancient cultures called these things Demons. In the Middle East they were known as “Jinn.” I guess the modern term is “Grey Alien." I really think they’re all the same thing – some intra-dimensional intelligence that can interact with us when certain conditions are met -or at certain cross-over points where the boundaries between dimensions are at their weakest. The crazy thing is that modern emerging science, most of it pioneered by the IONS institute in California led by Dean Radin, is slowing proving that the mind is not being accidentally or randomly created by biological processes. Your “mind” or consciousness interfaces with the brain but is not a true product of it. So where is your consciousness? Not solely in the dimension occupied only by your body and matter, that’s for sure.
I think once this new paradigm starts to sink in, we will understand exactly what this “alien” phenomenon is, and how our own consciousness interacts with it to produce these close encounters people seem to have had throughout history. I think it’s absurd to look at an infinite universe and think that only carbon-based life forms can exist. How can we even make such a silly assumption when the very thing we’re using to make this assumption, our consciousness, is still the primary mystery of life? And as quantum physics shows us, you can’t collapse a wave function and create matter without a consciousness. So talk about hubris! It seems to me consciousness, or non-physical intelligence, is probably THE first spoke on the wheel of life, present long before matter even begins to manifest.
Long story short: Aliens, demons, ghosts, they all exist. And no, I’m not high. At least not right this minute.
Now, how would you describe the movie? Is it horror? Is it science-fiction? Is it a comedy? Satire? Marijuana commercial?
You know – it was a risky proposition to combine all that together, but unlike the mainstream media machine I have faith in the human race. I know we’re not all morons, at least not all the time, and we will “get it” if we’re given something worth getting in the first place.
They used to make movies that were what I call “full spectrum experiences.” John Hughes was a director that could combine comedy and drama in the same film. Paul Verhoeven combined camp/drama/sci-fi/satire in films like Robocop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers. Neither of those directors short-changed their audiences – they knew how to combine it all together for a true cinema experience. I don’t think those movies exist anymore. I think everyone’s gotten very afraid. And it’s sad. But that being said, I am really thrilled at the response I’ve gotten on the film already, at how “original” people say it is. That’s what we need more of – original cinema that is challenging in a good way.
Speaking of, how supportive have crop owners, legal drug dealers, publications about such been? I imagine they’d have loved this?
Yes, the cannabis community has been very supportive. And I truly respect them for this because they could take offense at some of the material in the film. I mean the Star Leaf is pretty crazy stuff – it’s definitely not something a hippie from the 60’s would recognize or something you’d want to smoke before going to bed to help you sleep more soundly at night. So perhaps some might think I haven’t portrayed marijuana exactly like they think it should be portrayed.
But the truth is the time has come for all of us to be adults about cannabis and realize nothing in nature is “safe” anyway. The sun gives us all life as well as skin cancer. So you have to respect nature. If the film has a message, it’s that you respect nature and you should respect the journey a plant such as marijuana can take you on. Because if you want to be an asshole about it and abuse marijuana, you can. But just as well, you can heal yourself and your loved ones of all kinds of ailments as well as make some profound self-discoveries thanks to the states of consciousness the plant introduces you to. So who’s fault is it if you decide to drive a forklift carrying a pallet of unsecured propane tanks after smoking 200 joints? Probably your own.
Have you discovered what segment loves the movie the most yet?
The Ancient Alien watching Joe Rogan Podcast subscriber crowd, with some spillover from the Pot Zombie/Evil Bong cult followings. Not to sound arrogant, but people seem to really dig what we’ve done. I think it’s because we’ve seriously explored the connection between weed/consciousness/aliens/god and had a little fun while doing so. I am still shocked somebody hasn’t beat me to these concepts already. You can’t underestimate your audience, something mainstream films have been doing for a while and I love how we’re proving their model obsolete.
And is there anyone that’s been offended by the movie? Any walk outs at screenings?
Some people have gotten so high they can’t remember anything about the film, and have to watch it again. I guess that works in my favour, right? And of course the Grey Aliens themselves, the real ones, they hate it. I’m pretty sure they’re custom making a massive anal probe that has my name written all over it – something that will be quite painful if they ever manage to abduct me. I won’t be taking any trips to Roswell anytime soon.
People love a good ‘beer and pizza’ movie, do you think this fits the bill?
Totally. Especially if that beer is THC-infused. Hell, why not the pizza as well? You can THC infuse just about anything these days. But you don’t have to be stoned to enjoy the film.
You’re releasing it online only for the moment, is that right?
We are selling on our website but also releasing the DVD in stores in WA and CO state, and more states a short time from now. Pretty soon we will be on the traditional VOD outlets (iTunes, Netflix, Amazon) but until then, the best place to get it is via our online store, local dispensaries in States that allow us to sell them there, and other retails as they open up. We’re a “grass” roots operation as they say, so it’s slow going. But we’re getting great press – and that’s really helping our momentum. I think it’s safe to say if you want to see one of the most original films in a long time, with a completely unexpected take on marijuana in a sci-fi context…it’s worth a watch. You will be entertained. Oh, and we’ll also be selling actual real-life “Star Leaf” marijuana soon as well. So smoke up, tune out, and enjoy the ride!