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Canadian Pot Comedy Now On Streaming Services Hustles Past Many Hurdles, Including Covid-19

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Toronto filmmaker Geordie Sabbagh faced many hurdles with his new comedy “Canadian Strain,” starring Jess Salgueiro as a cannabis dealer grappling with legalization.

He had a tiny $10,000 budget and just nine days to shoot. Between writing, directing and working a corporate job, he also took on housekeeping tasks such as providing food for the minimal crew — even cleaning the toilet on set.

Not to mention the time all his props and costumes spilled out onto a busy downtown street, stopping traffic and streetcars while he and producer Ashleigh Rains picked them up.

Or when the Ontario government changed its approach to the cannabis regulation and distribution system in summer 2018, and Sabbagh had to quickly rewrite the ending so it would make sense.

Then came COVID-19.

“Canadian Strain” was supposed to hit theatres last Friday, but mass cinema closures and social-distancing measures during the pandemic forced the film’s team to quickly pivot and put it straight to video-on-demand platforms, including iTunes.

Sabbagh says the industry is still trying to make sense of it all, and he’s sad for independent Canadian theatres and others losing business.

But he’s optimistic his film will provide a humorous escape from the news cycle for self-quarantined audiences.


“I see artists out there now from all over the world putting out content to help people get by, and it’s exciting that our movie is part of that now,” Sabbagh said in a recent phone interview.

Salgueiro is hopeful the “fun and cosy” tone of the film will be a “pandemic panic medicine” of sorts for viewers.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/2020/03/24/canadian-pot-comedy-now-on-streaming-services-hustles-past-many-hurdles-including-covid-19.html

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