We first introduced you to Adam Hartle in January 2013, when we reported that ex-Congressman Tom Tancredo had promised to puff a joint on camera as part of the comedian/filmmaker's movie about Amendment 64 should the measure pass -- which it did.
Tancredo later welched on his bet under pressure from his family. But in Mile High -- The COmeback of Cannabis, the now-completed documentary, which screens tonight through Thursday (with Hartle promising to give out free legal pot to adults 21 and over outside theaters), Tancredo watches as the director blazes. Learn more about that scene and the project as a whole in a photo-and-video supplemented Q&A with Hartle below.
"I lit up during an interview with [Tancredo] on day one of legal sales last January in one of the final scenes to our film," the Florida-based Hartle notes via e-mail. He adds that he kept this get-together secret until just days ago "because the Republicans were using his support for A-64 against him [during his recent run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination] and I didn't want to give them any fuel for their fear-mongering fire."
Prior to the Republican primary, which Tancredo lost to another former U.S. Representative, Bob Beauprez, Hartle answered a series of questions about the movie, starting with Tancredo's original bet, made prior to Amendment 64's passage in November 2012.
Westword: Were you surprised by all the attention you got after Tom Tancredo made you a bet about smoking a joint with you if Amendment 64 won and then backed out on it?
Adam Hartle: Yes, very. The entire country was talking about it for a week. From my perspective it was just two dudes talking about burning one down together one day.
Have you heard from Tancredo since then?
We talk all the time. He's actually a really nice guy despite being a politician. I'm an independent and find all politicians to be corrupt [people] that will do and say anything to get elected, but that's a whole other conversation haha.... I feel bad for him right now. I was talking to him yesterday and he was telling me about all the attack ads running against him all over Colorado. He's the current leader in the Republican primary for governor, which makes him the target of smear campaigns from the other dudes (another reason I don't like politicians -- haha).... Hopefully the voters in Colorado are smart enough not to fall for it.
I know you were looking for another politician to smoke with you after Tancredo reneged. did you get any takers?
Yes. It's one of the final scenes in the film, and it was awesome (shameless plug alert). And if anybody wants to see it, there are still some tickets left to the premiere July 8th at the Mayan Theatre and you can reserve your seats right now!
You had to edit Tancredo out of your Indiegogo fundraising trailer. Did that cause you problems when it came to raising the money you needed to complete the project?
It wouldn't have mattered either way. Like you do with all friends, you get over disagreements pretty quickly. I'm lucky to have made friends with all the people I interviewed in Colorado for this film, and they're all going to be there at the premiere, so we can't wait to see them and get back out to Denver! As for the money, I funded the film myself, which in the end is ideal because it's 100 percent independent and only director Anthony Hashem and myself had any say on the final cut. And the film came out much, much better than either of us could have predicted.
How much money did you raise through that campaign? Was it enough to finish everything up? Or did you need to find money from other sources to complete it?
We came really, really close, man. The final budget on the film came out to $25,000. I have a wife and twin 2 year olds, so coming up with the extra side cash to produce the film wasn't easy. But I joke that this film is my third baby, and like all good parents, I'll do anything for my kids, right? My wife jokes that she's leaving me if I spend anymore on the film -- at least I hope she's joking haha!
Continue for more of our interview with Adam Hartle about his Mile High -- The COmeback of Cannabis, premiering in Denver tonight, including more photos and a video. What are some of your favorite parts of the completed film?
So many funny things happened while filming this movie that it's hard to pick. I love all the great indie music in this film, and Colorado has a natural beauty second to none, so I really enjoy the montages in this film. Being there live when the vote passed on November 6, 2012, celebrating with all the activists and supporters of Amendment 64, was a moment I'll never forget and really comes alive on film. We were also the first people in line on day one of legal sales while filming on January 1, 2014 at the 3D Cannabis Center and purchased the first legal joints sold in American history, so that was really fun too.
Have you got distribution for the movie yet? If not, how are you pitching it to folks who think it may be primarily of interest to people in Colorado?
We've started our own distribution company and are taking the film to independent theaters across the nation soon after the premiere in Colorado. We're sort of cutting out the middle man and contacting theater owners and bookers directly. This movement is sweeping the nation and theater owners have been very receptive once they see the film, so we're cautiously optimistic.
Florida is now considering legalizing medical marijuana. Are you thinking about putting together a sequel in your state?
Haha...I helped get some of the signatures to get it on the ballot down here, and from the people I met, I think it's going to pass -- [and]having a southern domino fall would be a big boost to the movement. Florida is the pain pill capital of the world, so to give patients a safe, natural option for pain management would be huge for Florida and would save a lot of lives. As for my next film, I like to go big, and this one will be tough to top, but I'm sure as hell gonna try.
Is there anything else i might not have asked that you'd like to add?
This film is not for everybody. It's an edgy, comical look at a major historical milestone. We've shown it to some test audiences and it's scored very poorly with people over fifty that have never used cannabis, and has scored off the charts with young people that have. So if you're young and you like the herb, you'd be crazy to miss this thing. And if you voted "yes" on 64, this is YOUR film.
Mile High -- The COmeback of Cannabis screens July 8-10 at the Mayan Theatre; click here for tickets, showtimes and more. In addition, folks can also catch the movie on July 9 at the Boulder Theater; to get tickets and details about that screening, click here.
Regarding the pot giveaway at the various showings, Hartle says in a press release, "I'll be standing outside the Mayan and Boulder Theaters before each screening this week handing out a small amount of legal marijuana to anyone over 21 with a valid ID to take home to enjoy responsibly- no purchase necessary, but we HIGHLY encourage you to stay and watch the film because we know you're going to love it!"
Here's a teaser clip about Mile High -- The COmeback of Cannabis.
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More from our Marijuana archive circa January 2013: "Marijuana: Comic looking for politico to smoke with after Tom Tancredo welches on pot bet."