It was inevitable: a film festival devoted entirely to cannabis. The inaugural Spliff Film Festival, another brainchild of Dan Savage, author of Savage Love and creator of the Hump film festival, will light up Denver one week before the 4/20 holiday.
“This is one of those sitting-around-the-office-wouldn’t-it-funny-if-we took the concept of Hump, which is celebrating porn and sexual creativity, and made it a weed festival called Spliff,” explains Caroline Dodge.
“What if we got folks to send in their stoney videos and make a festival that normalizes cannabis?”
Dodge is the director of marketing and promotions at Index Media, the company behind both Hump and Spliff. Index Media operates out of the Seattle offices of The Stranger, where the editorial director is Dan Savage; he created Hump, the porn-normalizing festival now entering its fifteenth year, and is also presenting Spliff, which asks filmmakers, artists, animators and stoners to share original film shorts exploring stoner themes.
The criteria for Spliff entries is a little hazy, Dodge says, with only one caveat: The films can't be longer than four minutes and twenty seconds. She expected a nice mix of stoney, trippy films, as well as documentaries about cannabis. By the March 8 deadline, Spliff had collected over 200 submissions. These will be culled down for the shows.
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“We’ll have ballot boxes, and people will vote for their favorites. We have Trippiest, Funniest, we have Stupidest, and we have Best in Show. The first three categories have a $2,000 prize and the Best in Show is a $5,000 prize,” Dodge says.
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While first-year festivals can be challenging (see: Grandoozy), Dodge is hopeful that with a successful inaugural year, Spliff can return in 2020 with after-parties and other supplemental events. Spliff recently teamed up with Elium Vapor, a North Carolina-based vaporizer company with an office in Golden, to explore more possibilities.
“It’s our first year, so we are just really open to hearing feedback from our audiences," Dodge says. "Because really, we depend on our audiences to send us great stuff before we curate it down into what we’re hoping to be a really entertaining night."
The inaugural Spliff Film Festival will roll out at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, on April 13, with two showings: one at 6:30 p.m. and one at 9 p.m. Tickets (21+) are $20 here; find out more at splifffilmfest.com.