Kellie Butterfield Dodds is the founder and owner of the Cannabis Film Festival in Garberville, California, an annual event that celebrates cannabis and exposes marijuana culture through the medium of film.

Kellie is a California-grown ganjapreneur and cannabis activist based out of the Emerald Triangle. She moved to Southern Humboldt County in 2006, where in 2010 she co-founded the 707 Cannabis College, a place for cannabis professionals and enthusiasts to gather and learn under experts from all avenues of the cannabis industry.

In this interview, Kellie explains how she founded the Cannabis Film Festival as a means to help bring cannabis deeper into mainstream American culture, how this year’s inaugural event has prepared the festival’s small team for next year, and she offers advice for the entrepreneurs who are eyeing the cannabis industry but still haven’t decided to take the plunge.

Read the full interview:

Ganjapreneur: How did the Cannabis Film Festival get started?

Kellie Butterfield Dodds: I wanted to bring more tourism dollars and something fun to my community. It used to be fishing and lumber that sustained the North Coast and that’s gone. Since those industries have been replaced with the cannabis business why not focus on something related to that. Films bring all types of people together from the film maker to the audience.

What were you doing before starting the Cannabis Film Festival (CFF)?

Homesteading, I was the General Manager of a retail business in the Redway/Garberville area, and I am co-founder of 707 Cannabis College.

How do you think film can help further the cannabis legalization cause?

By bringing it to the mainstream. Movies are a way to inform and entertain at the same time.

How has your local community responded to this event?

Very supportive. We received an email from the Garberville/Redway Chamber congratulating us for a successful first year and hopes we do it again in 2016. A few local vendors/retailers reached out after the last event expressing an interest to be involved in the next one which is scheduled for late April 2016.


How many people attended this year’s event?

Our attendance was somewhat small however, what we lacked for in attendance we gained in excitement by bringing Hollywood to our little town in Southern Humboldt.

How many films were submitted?

We had about 15 film submissions and have already started receiving a few for the 2016 festival.

Is the festival open to all types of film? For example, would a slapstick stoner comedy (i.e. Pineapple Express) be as welcome as an enlightening documentary about the evils of prohibition (i.e. The Culture High)?

Absolutely! Any independent film that has something to do with cannabis or hemp: short or feature film – comedy/action/drama/sci-fi/documentary – every genre is welcome.

How many people does it take to coordinate the event?

It takes a team of dedicated people we affectionately refer to CFF Team Awesome. We have our CFF Core Team of 5 and then we add employees and volunteers to make this happen.

Who can enter a film, and when do they need to turn in their submission?

Anyone! Just remember the film has to have some connection to cannabis or hemp to qualify. The submission deadline is 2/15/16 with a fee of $40 (or $30 for a short film). To save a little money we recommend submissions arrive on or before 1/15/16. Check out our website for all the Rules and Regulations and print out a submission form.

Are you planning to keep the Cannabis Film Festival local to Garberville, or can we expect it to eventually be seen around the country?

World domination baby! In all seriousness, we expect to outgrow our little town and be required to move to a larger arena. Maybe Las Vegas, New York City or who knows?

What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced launching CFF?

Time – we had a very short time period to get the first one off the ground, about 5 months. We were very blessed to have an awesome team of people working together to make it happen.

What is one piece of advice you would offer to aspiring ganjapreneurs?

Find something you really want to do, create an atmosphere you want to work in. Those things will attract like-minded people to help you along the way create the success you are working for. Don’t be afraid to fail. Those experiences are wonderful opportunities to learn and grow stronger.

Thank you Kellie for sharing your thoughts and insights! We wish you luck with the Cannabis Film Festival 2016, coming up in April. For more information about the festival or to submit your own film, visit the Cannabis Film Festival website.





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