Altered State is a documentary film exploring the rise of marijuana and the fight to protect California's natural resources.
The Filmmaker: Lou Douros
It's probably a good idea to introduce myself. If you go to loudouros.com, you'll see a bio of sorts. I'm a freelance filmmaker. There are a lot of ways to say that, but in the end, what I love doing is telling stories through films. I've been in the client business for many years... decades even. In 2010, I ventured out and produced a 24-minute documentary about whale disentanglement called In The Wake Of Giants. That film is now screenable for free if you have an Amazon Prime account. Couple bucks if you don't.
In The Wake Of Giants won some awards and didn't win, but was nominated for, an Emmy. After I produced that film, I couldn't go back. I was hooked. So I've tried, since then, to better understand how story works, and have kept caring for my clients as best I could.
The Film: Altered State
I've been working to develop or co-develop other documentaries and Altered State is among the most urgent films I am planning to create. It involves connecting with law enforcement communities, agriculture specialists, biologists studying the effects of human interaction with wild animals, growers (both legitimate and illegitimate), and public officials. It's a big undertaking.
While this is a self-funded film at the moment, the only way it will meet its distribution objectives is if it is supported financially from those that care about the environment, and/or marijuana's cultural acceptance. It's clear to me that the topic of legalizing marijuana is polarizing. But when you look closely at the environment, where cannabis is grown, you'll find more people agree than disagree. Those confluences of opinion around the environment are where I intend to spend most of my time as I explore the people, places, and things of marijuana's impact on California's ecosystems.
Ok this is bit of a gamble, but I'm going to say that I think Altered State will ultimately be distributed on one of the major streaming services after it enjoys a run in some scale of theatrical venues. That's the hope. It's pretty simple on the one hand - if we take In The Wake Of Giants for example. That film was self-funded. It was a labor of love. I worked with a very small group of professionals - mainly Blaise Douros, my son and composer.
That film went to several festivals, from which a deal was struck with PBS's Natural Heroes, and was nominated for an Emmy. Though it didn't win, it did create many inroads for me to produce for other marine and commercial fishing organizations, and opened the door to begin work on a sequel, "Northern Wake" an 8-minute short (so far) that focuses on preventing whale entanglements in Alaska and Hawaii.
Wake of Giants has never had any budget or financial support for anything from production through data storage, and marketing. I used it as a learning platform. So now it is viewed regularly on Amazon Prime, and every time there's a whale incident, the views go up enough to buy me a cup of coffee, but a LOT of people have seen it in one way or another.
That is NOT the goal of Altered State.
I don't need another learning platform (exclusively speaking). But to get proper distribution, I will need funding. I intend to push the film into some key premiere situations at high-visibility festivals…depending on funding either negotiate placement on the theatrical or arthouse circuit…and land ultimately on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or other Video On Demand or (VOD) or Subscription VOD, (SVOD) services.
In the end, while it is a labor of love for the moment, I intend to build a large audience while in production and postproduction. So, heading toward a "labor of profit" in addition to the LOVE. More about that in a later post, but for now, know that my eye is on the prize and the prize could be substantial - let's hope so. A film that performs well is more likely to influence more people. And if a large and growing audience of Altered State becomes more actively involved in demanding that our environment is protected with better resources, I could not have asked for anything more.