Less than a month after announcing the world premiere of Miami-based Rakontur's Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja would be shown at South By Southwest Film Festival, Wagner/ Cuban Company's Magnolia Pictures announced that it had bought the film rights in a statement Tuesday. Terms of the deal include a 40-city tour of college campuses in select metro markets after next month's premiere (March 12). Apparently, Magnolia knows where most of the green is smoked.
We thought the point of showing indie flicks at festivals like South By Southwest in Texas was to have distributors see the film and buy its rights. But, apparently, just announcing your film will screen was enough. At least that seems to be what happened in this case. Read on for more details.
Magnolia also announced that Robert Platshorn of the Black Tuna Gang,
one of the documentary's protagonists and the longest serving marijuana
prisoner in US History, will be on the film tour and give speaking
engagements at the colleges.
Square Grouper will also be screened at the High Times Medicinal
Cannabis Cup in Denver in April, and both High Times and NORML will
promote select preview screening of the movie with Magnolia. The film's
DVD will be released on April 19, just ahead of...you guessed it, 4/20.
Plans are to take film to the Berlin European Film Market this week and
shop it there also.
A statement by Magnolia revealed that the two companies had also inked a
first look deal for future projects. "Billy (Corben) and Alfred (Spellman) have struck gold again with Square
Grouper," said Magnolia Senior Vice President Tom Quinn. "They are
consistently making some of the most entertaining docs of anyone working
today. Fans of Cocaine Cowboys and The U are going to love Square Grouper."
"There's nobody we'd rather have handle our films," read a statement on
rakontur.com. The Miami studio and Magnolia previously worked together
on Cocaine Cowboys and CC2.
The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church featured in the movie, smoked a lot of pot...in the name of God.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
For you squares out there, square grouper refers to marijuana thrown
overboard when smugglers were being pursued by law enforcement
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officials. The pot trade was big in Miami in the 1970s and 1980s before
cocaine dominated the drug trade.