Behind the scenes of The Culture High – Part 5

Behind the scenes of The Culture High – Part 5 – Here We Go!

By Jason Reed

It’s been an arduous process; no more so than the sporadic updates that have popped up on these pages over the last year. Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. As we prepare The Culture High for its impending release on October 2nd and 3rd at Raindance Film Festival in Piccadilly, London, there’s but one more instalment we need to make from our behind the scenes gaze.


The Culture High Poster

If we can have one final wispy flashback to one year ago, exactly, then we have but three more people to film; we enter the final day with an ever decreasing budget and waistline. The crew, by now after 2 solid weeks in the UK, were looking like extras from 28 Days Later. The final day’s shooting provided the biggest challenges both logistically and physically.

Sitting down with us in Pimlico was former MI5 and now a Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Europe, Annie Machon. With a very unique perspective from the angle of intelligence, in a literal definition, Annie didn’t fail to have the whole crew transfixed by her mix of eloquence and humour. Director Brett Harvey had more questions than time and was noticeably pleased with the former spy’s intel.

Annie Machon filming for The Culture High

Annie Machon filming for The Culture High

After a brief jaunt around London to get some street comment, which was eventful with an Apple launch I can tell you, we had to make the long but rather exciting trip to find Sir Richard Branson.

Sir Richard and his team were so incredibly hospitable; we were thoroughly looked after. As you may well imagine, Sir Richard is as humble and down to earth as his public persona projects. What you see is what you get. Sir Richard provided the film the seal of quality and credence right from the start of the project, and his interview provided more of the same insight and essence of class that a man of his standing subtly holds. We hold a great debt to his whole team.

Jason Reed and Sir Richard Branson

Jason Reed and Sir Richard Branson

You may say that we didn’t want to leave the tranquil surroundings of Sir Richard’s location. Despite being what should have been the most hectic and stressful day, we ended up all feeling like we’d been at a spa. This mood was soon interrupted as we hit the road to make it over to Chichester to find Rufus Hound who just so happened to be on call for a press night.

Rufus Hound

Rufus Hound – Comedian

Rufus, what can we say? We owe Rufus so much gratitude for his time and patience. The absolute star of a man, in every definition, put himself out to such a degree that we were all sure we would get him in trouble in some way or manner. Ever the professional and welcoming comedian, Rufus gave us a climactic interview that had us literally falling in the streets. Drug policy needs parody and satire, and it needs it to be done well. To have such an intellectual mind that can deliver truthful insight with a sharpened spear of satire is a gift.

As we packed up and wrapped up the UK filming, we drove back to base with Tina Turner and Bryan Adams blaring out for a van singsong. We knew how to live it up. Relief was the overriding feeling, and the rest of the crew had an immediate trip to Barcelona to now contend with.

Lester Grinspoon

Dr Lester Grinspoon, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

In each instalment of these very personal blogs that lift the magician’s curtain just a little, I have paid tribute to each member of the crew of Adam Scorgie and Brett Harvey. I would like to now give a long overdue salute to Producer/Editor, Stephen Green. Steve-o is the glue – I think I’d be allowed to say. He really is the foundation that keeps a low personal profile on a high profile project. Stephen really did exist on little more than a few naps, a few noodles, and a lot of hard work. A man like Stephen will never accept the adulation that he ruthlessly and unequivocally deserves.

Brett Harvey and Stephen Green subsequently spent more than a year underground, living off little more than beans and caffeine as they edited the film into the final movie. Howard Hughes had nothing on these guys as they agonised over every tiny detail and stripped hundreds of useable hours of footage into 120 minutes.

This brings us to now; the premiere. On October 2nd and 3rd, The Culture High is released on the big screen in the heart of movie going London. The hard work is now to be displayed in front of an audience. I’m sure I speak for all the crew when I say a rather large thank you for all support, and a humbled clench of the hands as we wait for an audience to join us in a look at global cannabis law, media, and culture. Let’s do this.

 Jason Reed is the Executive Director of LEAP UK

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