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Production   /  Kate Separovich

Growing the Pot

A coal mining town is transforming from black to green, but not everyone agrees on cannabis being one of the industries.


Impact areas




  • DIRECTOR Claire Leach

  • PRODUCER Kate Separovich



Collie, a 100-year-old coal-mining town that powers 70% of the state of Western Australia has just been informed by the government that they will be closing down the power stations by 2030, impacting 1200 jobs, in a town of 7000. Rod Zakostelsky, an enthusiastic big thinker from Perth, wants to open the first completely sustainable medicinal cannabis farm in the world, despite conservative local opposition in a town which has had problems with drugs in the past.

Could Cannabis be a life saver for this town? Rod’s crazy idea could be the beginning of a new industrial movement, not only for Collie, but an example for the world of how businesses can become more profitable with sustainability and community come together out of adversity.

We are aiming to raise $200k broken into two parts. $100k for our time critical filming and $100k for the first phase of our impact strategy.

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Like many industry-based towns around Australia (and the world) Collie is a community of multi-generational families who have worked in the industry are fearing their future when that industry disappears.

We want to help the towns like Collie thrive again but without new industries, unemployment will decimate the community.

Additionally, past media has created a reputation about Cannabis that is incredibly hard to shift, but the cannabis plant could offer amazing opportunities for the health of people, the environment and businesses in the regeneration of this small industrial town.

We need to shift an ingrained mindset to enable realisation of what is possible through from cannabis and how industrial regional towns can reinvent themselves through community activation and sustainable business practice to achieve a reenergised, attractive community.

"Growing The Pot " will advocate to the world that embracing change is powerful and transformative.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Using documentary GROWING THE POT as an advocacy tool, innovative business & community leaders from declining industrial communities around the world like Collie, will have a template to consider how they can thrive again, by sustainably adapting to changing landscapes in employment, environmental health and community wellbeing.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

During the making of GTP there will be a positive attitudinal shift in Collie, around the sentiment of their town.

After viewing audiences will have a greater understanding of the stress caused by industries closing in small towns.

That the conversation around Medicinal cannabis is bought into the mainstream.

The film will encourage business to investigate improving their sustainability.

The film will encourage more doctors to be open to prescribing medicinal cannabis through their patients enquiring about it.

That the laws around Australia change to move CBD to schedule 3 and Medicinal Cannabis to Schedule 4.
And that communities will show a willingness to embrace change.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Short Term is engagement with the town through ‘how to film’ workshops and social media classes. Integration into the community is very important to us. During the making of the film we will work with partners who already have information about how to make your business more sustainable. In the longer term we will partner with advocacy organisations that are trying to make changes in law to cannabis growth and schedule status, using screenings of the film as an event platform to spread the message.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We’ve already started engaging with key partners for this Impact Campaign. These include Chambers of Commerce who actively support the businesses community to succeed, Local Governements and other organisations who want to see their community, economy & environment thrive, as well as medical partners who want to see the rhetoric around Cannabis change.

As we consult with these partners and continue to engage and consult further they will help tailor our impact strategy.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

After watching the documentary we want audiences to have the inspiration to join or create “coals to action”, as well as the knowledge of where they can go and what they can do to engage with the network of partners to work together to create activities and devise local solutions that will enable change.

We will have specific calls to action around Climate, Community and Cannabis that are informed by the audience that is watching.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We will know that we have achieved our goal through measuring the targets we have set on: the number of screenings with Q&A’s; the number & format of locally driven activation activities; as well as anecdotal evidence of a shift in willingness to embrace & empower change; & any legislative changes to improve access to cannabis.