Kalamazoo Alumni Spotlight Injustice in 'Grassland': A Film Blending Art and Advocacy

November 26th, 2023 Culture & Lifestyle
Cover Image

"Grassland," slated for 2024 film festival premieres, features a narrative set against the 2008 Great Recession backdrop. It tells the story of a Latina single mother running an illegal marijuana business, whose life takes a turn when her son befriends a young white boy and his police officer grandfather. The film, which includes Shon Powell as a consulting producer, highlights racial disparities in marijuana-related arrests, emphasizing that Latinos and Black individuals were disproportionately targeted compared to their white counterparts.

The film stars Mía Maestro, known for "The Strain" and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2," and Jeff Kober, recognized from "The Walking Dead," "Sons of Anarchy," and "China Beach." Quincy Isaiah plays the character of Brandon, bringing a depth of emotion and complexity to the role.

Adam Edery, a Kalamazoo College graduate with a background in anthropology-sociology, was drawn to "Grassland" due to its social justice themes, a passion ignited during his college years. His role in securing funding for the film was a testament to his commitment to storytelling that provokes thought and change.

Isaiah and Edery's collaboration began in Los Angeles, where their shared Kalamazoo College experience fostered a unique bond and understanding, especially regarding social justice issues. Their mutual respect and shared values were pivotal in bringing "Grassland" to life.

The film, devoid of a traditional villain, instead scrutinizes systemic issues in law enforcement and societal norms. It questions the policies and systems that have led to disproportionate incarceration rates for marijuana offenses, especially in light of recent legalizations.

Isaiah views "Grassland" as an opportunity for audiences to connect with characters from diverse walks of life, encouraging empathy and understanding. His portrayal of Brandon, a character grappling with life's challenges and injustices, aims to resonate with viewers on a personal level.

The screening at Kalamazoo College was a meaningful homecoming for Edery and Isaiah. They engaged in deep discussions with students about the film, their careers, and broader societal issues. This interaction highlighted the transformative impact of their college experience on their professional and personal development.

Looking ahead, Edery and Isaiah plan to nominate "Grassland" for film festivals like Sundance and align with social justice campaigns. Their goal is to raise awareness about the ongoing issue of marijuana-related incarcerations and advocate for change, partnering with organizations like the Last Prisoner Project to support individuals still affected by outdated laws.

Isaiah hopes that "Grassland" will inspire action and change, addressing the ongoing injustice faced by individuals incarcerated for marijuana offenses in an era where it has become widely accepted and legal in many areas.

Share this article:

Spotted a typo, grammatical error, or a factual inaccuracy? Let us know - we're committed to correcting errors swiftly and accurately!

Missed an issue? Browse our newsletter archive to stay updated on past news!

Other Recent News

Michigan Marijuana News thrives thanks to the dedication and support of its readership. If you depend on our comprehensive cannabis coverage to keep you updated and enlightened, we kindly ask you to think about making a monthly commitment through Patreon. Every pledge fuels our mission and ensures the continuity of quality cannabis journalism in Michigan.
Become a Patron!

Upcoming Cannabis Events