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Hemp Documentary screening

Hemp Documentary 'Bringing it Home'

To be screened in the Entertainment Hall on G/F on Saturday at 2pm, followed by a panel discussion and a hemp quiz at 3pm

Click here to download the event programme


Hemp - it's not just for hippies anymore. Today they're making everything from salad dressings to buildings with it. Despite the inevitable giggles and 'buzz' factor, industrial hemp is actually a non-psychoactive plant, grown in 31 other countries, but prohibited in the U.S.. In 2013, hemp is making headlines in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal as states such as Kentucky are pushing industrial hemp farming legislation. Legalization advocates say it could help American farmers, create jobs and replace thousands of harmful petro-chemical and synthetic products. Bringing It Home, a feature documentary, tells the story of hemp's past, present and future through interviews with hemp business leaders and entrepreneurs from all over the globe, historical images and media clips, and footage filmed in the U.K., Spain, Washington D.C., California and North Carolina.

The film begins with environmentally-conscious home designer Anthony Brenner's story of his quest to find the healthiest, non-toxic building material available to build a safe indoor environment for his young daughter Bailey, who has a rare genetic disorder and an extreme sensitivity to synthetic chemicals. His company, Push Design, made headlines in USA Today and CNN when they completed "America's First Hemp House" for the former mayor of Asheville, North Carolina. Anthony's story is one of the inspirational tales profiled in this film that provides viewers with a new emotional connection to the issue of toxic human habitats and how hemp can play a role in innovative healthy green building solutions. Throughout the film we follow Anthony as he now seeks to build a hempcrete residential home for his daughter and other children with disabilities.

A major drawback for Anthony and other U.S. builders using hemp is that the fiber used to make hempcrete must be imported. We followed the hemp trail of the Asheville house to England where we spoke with hemp business owners, toured their facilities, and filmed hemp farms and commercial structures. We catch up with Kevin McCloud, the popular designer, author and TV host of Grand Designs who developed a hemp townhouse neighborhood in Swindon. We meet with researcher Dr. Michael Lawrence at the University of Bath's "HemPod" research structure and learn about the humidity regulating and carbon absorbing benefits of hemp construction. We learn about hemp foods and nutrition from Henry Braham, hemp farmer and founder of GOOD Oil. Additional interviews with experts filmed at the 2nd International Hemp Building Symposium in Granada, Spain speak to global hemp industries and uses worldwide and we visit a Spanish family in their hemp home.

In Washington D.C. we catch up with Ben Droz, the young, energetic legislative liaison for Vote Hemp, as he works the corridors of Capitol Hill trying to gain sponsors and support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. We also visit Capitol Hemp -- a retail store featuring hemp clothing and products.

In California, American hemp business CEO's David and Mike Bronner of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps and John Roulac of Nutiva discuss how hemp products helped build their million dollar companies. In Sacramento we sit down with John Lovell, lobbyist for the CA Narcotics Officers Association to hear their opposition to legalizing hemp farming. We also spend time with an eco-couture designer who uses organic hemp fabrics from China while making a home in Greensboro, NC where textile industries once employed many citizens. Farmers in Silk Hope, NC hear about hemp markets and agricultural benefits and voice their support for bringing this crop back to American farms where it used to grow.

Hemp's role in world and American history is treated through lively animation and brief segments throughout using archival imagery and interview voice-over. Interviewees in Bringing It Home discuss the importance of hemp during colonial times through the World War II era and how 20th century hemp industry's competitors -- oil, timber and petro-chemicals -- contributed to its decline as a crop. In the 1970's its connection with marijuana would lead to its labeling as a narcotic and make it virtually impossible to grow in the United States.

You can watch the trailer and buy the DVD at their website:

Director Statement

The Industrial hemp farming issue has reached remarkable heights this year with 21 states introducing legislation to legalize hemp cultivation and more media attention than ever before. Recent articles in The New York Times, The Wallstreet Journal, The Washington Post and more are indicating that this is a hot topic for conversation and debate.

My friend and project partner Blaire Johnson talked a lot about hemp and her wanting to do a documentary on the topic. I just happened to buy a copy of USA Today in November 2010 that featured a story about a home designer in Asheville that built a modernist hempcrete house for the city's former mayor. In my excitement I called her and said "We should call this guy and make a short documentary about this." I laugh about that now. Things just started snowballing and the following April we're on a plane headed to Spain for the International Hemp Building Symposium. Meeting industrial hemp business leaders from all over the globe made us realize there was a much bigger story to tell about hemp and that the United States was woefully behind in its policy, education and attitude about a plant and its uses that are almost too good to be true.

We interviewed many impressive people, but we spent the most time with Anthony Brenner, the house designer who touched us by what an incredible father he was to his young daughters. His daughter Bailey has a rare genetic disorder that has affected her cognitive abilities and speech in addition to a sensitivity to chemicals. She was the inspiration for him to find the healthiest, non-toxic building materials available and to now build The Bird's Nest, a comprehensive residential facility for children and others like her that fall on her level of the autism spectrum. Learning from him and doing research about the toxicity of so many things in our environment, homes and cleaning products made me change my buying habits. I'm purchasing a lot of hemp products now too of course!


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