The Reel Social Club premiered its inaugural stand-alone film festival, the RSC Shorts Fest, earlier in May at the Sie Center in Denver.
The Reel Social Club is the Denver Film Society’s young professionals group. They have held parties and assisted with the programming at the Denver Film Festival in the past.
The collection of shorts was promoted as a fest designed for what program director Matthew Campbell called a “heightened” audience. The presenting sponsor of the night was LivWell Enlightened Health, one of the largest marijuana companies in the state. The bar was full, specials were being poured and everyone in attendance was ready to see some movies.
The question of the evening, though:”Where’s the weed at?” Because despite being brought to you by a cannabis company, this was not a very 420-friendly event.
Denver has been a battleground for legal social cannabis use, with a 2015 ballot initiative being dropped for promises of legislative action, before being picked up again for 2016 by new organizations. However, there are alternatives to the no-smoking-in-the-theater rule; many event organizers now look toward services like buses or shuttles parked near the venue that can be used for consumption.
Designing a festival for a high audience, and then not setting up a way for that audience to get high, feels like a grab to get attention for having some kind involvement in the cannabis industry…and kind of a shaky one at that.