A new feature documentary playing Whistler December 3rd says the legalization of gay marriage and the brief collapse of Canadian anti-marijuana laws have set the country on a new course.
Escape to Canada is an action-packed rendition of Canada’s summer of legalization when gay marriage and marijuana were effectively legalized on the same day, June 10th 2003, and an expose of remarkable US-financed efforts to reverse the country’s new direction.
According to the filmmakers, the film’s main character, Marc Emery was arrested by the American DEA, not because he sold marijuana seeds, but because he traveled around Canada leading the “Summer of legalization” exposing a huge hole in Canada’s marijuana prohibition.
Marijuana would be re-criminalized but gay marriage would go on to become law across Canada and even affect the outcome of the US election. US based Variety magazine said Escape is sure to make a splash in the US:
“Taking as its hot-button thesis the provocative notion that Canada, and not the U.S., is North America’s pre-eminent freedom-loving country,” says Variety‘s Eddie Cockrell, ?documaker Albert Nerenberg’s Escape to Canada is a proud, benevolent, mischievous and altogether winning portrait of a country where same-sex marriage and public dope smoking are OK, where young Americans have gone to avoid military service since Vietnam, and where jibes against America are done in good fun.”
The Montreal Mirror says the fast-paced action packed film makes for “fantastic drama.”
Escape to Canada is a new feature documentary for the National Film Board, Canal D and the Documentary Channel. The film, produced by the same team behind the hit documentary Stupidity, has just finished.
Although the film deals heavily with gay marriage and the arrival of AWOL US soldiers in Canada, on the marijuana side, many of people in the film have been arrested including Marc Emery who is facing extradition to the US and potential life imprisonment.
The film makes the point that Emery is probably being shut down by US authorities because of his public efforts to legalize marijuana, not his seed sales.
“Emery has been selling seeds for over a decade,” said Nerenberg. “The DEA investigation began just over a year and a half ago. At that time Emery was doing something very specific. He was taking advantage of the fact that Canadian marijuana laws were collapsing, and showing up at Canadian police stations saying pot is legal, in a highly publicized campaign.”
Film suggests Canada and USA taking separate paths
Escape to Canada shows how Canada’s relative tolerance towards marijuana and support for gay marriage has often put it on a collision course with Bush’s America.
In addition to Emery’s story, Escape to Canada examines the nation’s unlikely “freedom fighters” who challenge laws and old customs, then must confront the consequences. A couple, known as the Michaels, unleashes the gay marriage trend with their own impromptu wedding. Brandon Hughey, an ex-U.S. soldier, explains how Canada allowed him to escape America’s war for “freedom” in the Middle East.
Canada is on a freedom kick. But within months, Canada re-criminalizes marijuana and jails pot activists; a new campaign to turn back gay marriage emerges, financed with US dollars; the Prince of Pot is arrested. Using fast-paced cutting, amazing cinematography and exclusive access, Escape to Canada offers it all: emotional weddings, shocking confrontations and desperate flights to freedom.
Often comic, and often dramatic, the film shows how Canada, sometimes through no decision of its own, is taking a path separate from the US.
At a time when liberty is on the line, this documentary dramatically shows how Canada is becoming the new land of the free.
Or is it?
Escape to Canada
December 3rd, Village 8 Cinemas (at Whistler Resort), 7 pm
Directed by Albert Nerenberg
An Elevator Films and National Film Board Co-Production
For CANAL D, The Documentary Channel and Movie Central
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