009: Windy Borman - Casting light on the Women of Weed and the Puffragette Movement
Windy Borman, MST is a multi-award-winning director and producer, as well as the founder of DVA Productions, a socially conscious production company. She is currently the Executive Producer and Director of "Mary Janes: The Women of Weed", which features a powerful interview from Grammy®-award-winner Melissa Etheridge and 40 female “ganjaprenuers” we call Puffragettes® (as in Pot + Suffragette). “Mary Janes” has garnered “Best Documentary” and “Visionary” awards on the festival circuit and has been featured in Variety, The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Forbes, NBC, and ABC.
Windy’s recent successes include the 10-time award-winning documentary, “The Eyes of Thailand,” narrated by Ashley Judd; and “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia,” which premiered at Sundance and on HBO.
From 2003-2005, Windy dedicated two years to Teach For America, where she taught middle school drama and dance in the South Bronx. She founded DVA Productions in 2006 to use her gift of storytelling to create cinematic and immersive experiences that promote peace, justice, and equality.
In this episode we talk about:
perseverance and believing in yourself
opportunity vs oppression
the two things we need to progress
the Rise of Women
trying cannabis for the first time (with some Cannabis Fairy Godmothers as guides)
and finally your “brain diet”
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Windy Borman: 00:00:00 It really comes down to, you know, perseverance and that belief in yourself, right, that not necessarily, it's not necessarily a confidence or an arrogance or ego or anything like that, but it's just like trusting that there's a path and even if it's not clear at the beginning, you know, you just have to take the first step and then that leads to the next step and the next step.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:00:28 Welcome to the Vitalic Project podcast where you'll learn how to find your own voice in a world filled with noise. I'm Gabe Ratliff. I'll be your host as I sit down with fellow artists, creators and entrepreneurs to learn more about their work and how they serve others so that you can tap into your creative purpose and live a life that's drawn, not traced. All right, I'm stoked. Let's get to it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:00:58 Hey guys, thanks so much for joining me on this episode of the Vitalic Project. This is episode nine with Windy Borman. Windy is a multi award winning Director and Producer, as well as the founder of Diva Productions. She is currently the Executive Producer and Director of "Mary Janes: the Women of Weed", which features a powerful interview from Grammy Award-winner, Melissa Etheridge and 40 female, "ganjapreneurs", which they like to call "Puffragettes" (as Pot + Suffragette). "Mary Jane's" has garnered "best documentary" and "visionary" awards on the festival circuit and has been featured in Variety, The Associated Press, the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Forbes, NBC, and ABC. Windy's recent successes include the 10-time award winning documentary, "The Eyes of Thailand", narrated by Ashley Judd and "The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia", which premiered at Sundance and on HBO. From 2003 to 2005, she dedicated two years to Teach for America where she taught middle school drama and dance in the South Bronx. She then founded Diva Productions in 2006, where she uses her gift of storytelling to create cinematic and immersive experiences that promote peace, justice, and equality. So if you hadn't noticed, she's obviously quite a bit of a go-getter and pretty devoted to her mission and her craft as a filmmaker. So yeah, strap in for this one. During our conversation we talk about perseverance and believing in yourself. We primarily talk about "Mary Jane's: the Women of Weed", her newest film, but we also step back and talk about some of her previous films that have really had an impact and the challenges as well as the triumphs that have come out of those projects. We also talk about opportunity versus oppression. We talk about crowd funding and censorship. We also talk about how she tried cannabis for the first time after making the film about women of weed. So it's a pretty awesome story. Of course she can't share too much because you've got to go see the film, but I must tell you it does involve some Cannabis Fairy Godmothers. So yeah, stay tuned for that. Then we talk about the rise of women and what that looks like in the current landscape and what the future of that could be, and some advice for women as they look at potentially becoming filmmakers or even cannabis business owners. And finally we talk about the "brain diet", which is worth the wait, so I hope you'll stick with us. So without further ado, let's dive in.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:03:55 Windy, thank you so much for being here on the show. I'm so excited to have you here today.
Windy Borman: 00:04:00 It's awesome to be here. Gabe. Thanks so much.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:04:03 So I want to get people, we got a lot of content to jump into. I want to get people acquainted with you first though because you have some really fantastic new project that you're working on, but you also have some really great stuff that you have done previously. So I was thinking maybe we just start off with what I like to call the cliff's notes of your life, you know, just sort of a high level, you know, catch us up with who you are today and how you got here.
Windy Borman: 00:04:32 Well it's pretty interesting. I think that I didn't necessarily start out as a filmmaker, but that's kind of where I ended up. Um, so I actually had to make my own film school. I was at the University of Oregon for my undergraduate work and they had done away with a film program, so I initially came in to be a theater major and my parents said we're not sending you to college to be a waitress, so have a backup plan. Um, and in their wisdom that was a good idea, um, because I ended up adding a journalism major, so I focused on broadcast journalism is what they called it in the nineties, so I got the technical experience of working with cameras and lighting and editing and things like that. And then I got the theatrical experience of working with actors and costumes and blocking and all of that stuff. Um, and when I finally realized that I did not want to be an actor, I wanted to be a director and I felt I was getting cold towards film. I ended up taking some film history classes from English department. So I had this really interesting like triangulation across my college campus, going to everything. Um, and then what the click moment for me really came from. I had the opportunity to study abroad in Ghana, in West Africa, um, one summer and I had an internship for this production company that was focused on this.
Windy Borman: 00:06:15 It was an aids awareness and education sponsored television show, but the subject matter was very similar to like nine. Oh, two, one. Oh, the Osi, you know, um, things like that. So it had a teenage adolescent focus, but it was really revolutionary at the time because Ghana was one of the first countries who was talking about aids, talking about prevention, talking about treatment. Um, and they received some awards for it. So I was just the intern on this show, you know, I was stopping traffic fixed so people could get a shot or you know, the equivalent of getting coffee and things like that. Well, one day the director was sick and he handed me the script and he said, you call it today. Here I was 22 in Africa directing a TV show. And I said, okay, this is what I want to do. So I came back and changed my thesis project and all of this stuff. Um, and then I was told that a film schools don't take you seriously until you're 25, so I needed to buy a couple of years of life experience and I figured a good way to do that would be teaching middle school drama and dance in the South Bronx with teach for America.
Windy Borman: 00:07:33 So, you know, why not just go into the belly of the beast. Right. So it was the most challenging thing I've ever done and yet I think it helped solidify my path to focus more on documentary filmmaking because there is that educational component to the entertainment, right? Like at the end of the day, hopefully my film ask big questions, make and make people rethink about something they think they already know or we're going to teach them something in a new way that lights up all these other connections. Right. Um, so I did teach for America survived that I apply to MFA programs for directing and I didn't get in. So then I flipped coast, I drove to San Francisco and had a job coordinating infomercial testimonials. Why not, you know. So, um, I did that for 18 months, right? Applied Again, did not get in the second time to MFA programs.
Windy Borman: 00:08:51 And that point I said, screw it. Spielberg didn't go to film school, I'm just gonna open my own production company and do it myself. And within a couple months of that decision, I had the opportunity to go to Thailand with a group of actors who were doing a fundraising performance for an elephant hospital and just hearing that Kinda had my spidey sense go off, right, of like, Ooh, that's interesting. There could be something there. So I negotiated it with the director of the theater troupe that, um, she would pay for my flight to Thailand. I would put myself up for two months and film everything. I'm, her son was an editor so he could edit a fundraising video of the trip from my footage. But other than that, I would control the rights to everything. So if something could come out of that, right, I would be able to do something with it to try to recoup my expense.
Windy Borman: 00:09:51 She was game for it. I went to Thailand. I'm in one day we wandered into an elephant hospital where we saw a three legged baby elephant hobbling around and the founder of the Elephant Hospital said, I'm going to help her walk again. And I said, if you can do it, I'll come back. And so I did four trips to Thailand over the course of several years and that eventually became my first documentary called the eyes of Thailand documentary. Well, thank you very much. Um, yeah, it, it was one of those stories that people hadn't really heard of before and I think it came out at a great time where it came out in 2012 and, you know, people had had the cove. So we were caring about the oceans, you know, we had the primate testing, we had like animal rights and animal well-being had really moved out of, you know, the Vegan and vegetarian movement in and become a larger conversation at, um, for just humane treatment of every species.
Windy Borman: 00:11:04 Right. Um, so it came at a really good time. We were able to connect with Ashley Judd, so she narrated the film. Um, we were honored twice by the United Nations, you know, it was, it was a really great festival run. Um, and sadly the film distribution is really challenging for indie films like that, you know, even when you have a celebrity narrator, it's sometimes really hard to break through just because that's not what the distributors want to buy that year. Right. So it's a great film. We did some independent distribution on it while you were on Itunes, Amazon, Hulu, pbs, things like that. Um, and yeah, after 10 years of working on that, you know, we owe the first trip to Thailand was in 2007 and finding last year in 2017 we decided to close the production company because we'd, you know, license the footage to as many places that we thought was possible.
Windy Borman: 00:12:07 Um, so we weren't going to see any more revenue from the project. So, you know, we talked to the investors and the donors and the film, we said, look, we're, it's, we're just spending money to keep the company open and we're not, haven't seen anything else come in. Um, so we closed that just last year, but we donated the remainder of dvds, the blu rays, like all that stuff, but excuse me. Um, we donated all the blu rays, dvds, things like that, back to the elephant hospital so they could use that for their fundraising thing. Awesome. Yeah. And we did really, we did really help the elephant hospital get some more media attention, you know, I can't claim credit for all of it, but there was the indirect benefit of being able to have the film screen in international film festivals and have a social media campaign and be at the United Nations and things like that. So that other supporters, other celebrity supporters started to come out of the woodwork and support the elephant hospital. So yeah, Karmically, I felt like we did what we needed to do to help move the conversation forward and set them up to be able to treat more elephants from who were suffering from landmine injuries but also in all kinds of other things. Um, and then, sorry, what do you want me to talk about the dyslexia film too or not? So that was kind of love all of the Thailand stuff.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:13:40 Yeah. I just was going to say before you jump into that, I just was going to say that I, I also have to call out the, the fact that you, that was a, that was a pivot that you chose to make that, you know, I have to, I have to mention and just it's honor that because you know, that's something that I keep running into with people that I just think is amazing where they take that initiative and say to themselves the same thing that you did where you keep running into these walls, trying to keep you from something that you originally could, could think this is how you have to do it. But then to say, no, I'm going to do this on my own. And then to have this path kind of unfold itself as you're making these decisions. I just, I love seeing those stories unfold and being able to have that hindsight, you know, to, to then look back and, and that's just as much a message to upcoming filmmakers as it is.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:14:45 You know, these other stories that you hear about, you know, with these big directors that have this, you know, amazing. I'm a filmography and an amazing experience that they've had getting, you know, from, from starting in their, you know, their debut film that blows up, you know, turns them into these, you know, amazing, huge filmmakers. But I also love, I don't, I don't want to call it the rags to riches, but you know, it's that same kind of idea of just know rag tag, I'm going to work my ass off guerrilla style but own it myself and then in and it's the whole point of this show which is about drawing your life, not tracing it, you know, and following somebody else's line. So I just wanted to mention that because I, I just, that it makes me so proud to hear those stories and that's exactly why that the show exists is to showcase people like yourself that have made those decisions and look at where you are now, which you will. We have plenty to talk about where you are now as well.
Windy Borman: 00:15:52 Well, I, I, I really appreciate that and I think or I would assume that what you'll find in talking to people on your podcast is it really comes down to, you know, perseverance and that belief in yourself, right, that not necessarily, it's not necessarily a confidence or arrogance or ego or anything like that, but it's just like trusting that there's a path and even if it's not clear at the beginning, you know, you just have to take the first step and then that leads to the next step and the next step, um, you know, there were definitely times, you know, months, years where things don't come easily, right. You feel like you're pushing a boulder up a mountain just to try to break through to that next level, whether it's fundraising or a distribution opportunity or a film festival or publicity or you know, any of these things.
Windy Borman: 00:16:53 Um, but what I try to do is link everything back to my core values. You know, I certainly had opportunities, right, to keep working at that infomercial production company. Right. I was pretty good at talking to people about their skin and prepping them to be on camera. Right. But that's not what I was passionate about. I didn't necessarily just want to be a cog in the wheel. I wanted to help set the vision for something and I think part of, you know, now we have the me too movement where we can talk about this, but you know, this was back in the mid two thousands where there weren't a lot of women in high level production roles and if they were, they weren't necessarily mentoring other women. Right? So they still had this glass ceiling mentality of, well, if I got here, I need to keep everybody else down and I didn't want to do any of that.
Windy Borman: 00:17:54 Right. I, you know, I also tried to work in, um, with creative agencies and advertising companies. And I, it, I didn't want to play the mean girl thing, nor did I want to do deal with the Douche baggery that was happening in a lot of the independent in Hollywood stuff. You know, there were people that would come to San Francisco just like there are people that come to Denver to film, right? And they call up all the people that they know. Well, unless you're in that crew family, you don't get the phone call. Right. And it's still very male focused of, they call all their friends and then if there's any production coordinator or makeup gigs, they'll call the girls in. Right? Right. And I didn't want to have to be stuck in that capacity either. So I think, um, the, another reason why I came to documentary films like a lot of women is the budgets are lower. So I could raise the money to fund it myself and I could control the content, you know, I wasn't necessarily going to have to sacrifice what I thought thought a story was in order to, you know, get a big studio to green light it for me.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:19:15 So take us now into this, this next project then with the dyslexia and talk us through that one because I want to start kind of moving us through your current project that you're now a promoting. And uh, taking us even further into several new conversations that are very relevant right now.
Windy Borman: 00:19:42 So in the midst of doing all of the filming and editing and fundraising for the documentary about elephants, I had the opportunity to produce a documentary about dyslexia and that was one of those right place, right time sort of scenarios. I was on my way to production manage another shoot when the director was sitting with the cinematographer and the director said, you know, I really need a producer who understands independent filmmaking and education. And I walk by and the cinematographer was on the shoot that I was production managing. And so he's like, Hey, when do you come on over? I'm. So that ended up in the middle of, you know, directing the eyes of Thailand about the elephants. I was now producing a documentary which came to be called the big picture, rethinking dyslexia. And that premiered at Sundance 2012. And Hbo bought it before it was even at Sundance. And then a couple months later the eyes of Thailand came out on the film festival circuit. So in 2012 I had two films out on the festival circuit and even though they'd started at different times, it felt like, you know,
Windy Borman: 00:21:06 a shift in opportunities for me as a filmmaker and that was really exciting. So I actually let my apartment go in San Francisco and just focused on traveling with films. What was that like just to. Oh, it was lots of fun and there's the crazy time where I had to go from Thailand to Switzerland and have a suitcase waiting for me, you know, to swap out the tropical close for the winter clothes. Not Nowhere I am time zone. Why eat and just meeting people at all the different film festivals and stuff, you know, it, it was really great. And to be a part of films that were both being well received. Um, that was a lot of fun. I felt like a, all the hard work that I'd been doing over the last couple of years was, was coming to fruition for something. It was also, the films had very different runs, right. You know, you have the Cinderella story, right, of having your film sold before it even gets to sundance and going on hbo, you know, like you can't really write that any easier. And then okay, with the elephant film, you know, that got more festival awards, um, and we had great press and stuff like that, but it just wasn't breaking through, you know, we had three different distribution companies by the end of our distribution run. Okay. And none of them had a lot of success and it, and again, this was back in 2012, right? So this was before Netflix and Amazon and Hulu and you know, all these different platforms that we can consider now we're really set up to deal with independent filmmakers. They were, even if they were starting to purchase content, they weren't necessarily um,
Windy Borman: 00:23:20 dealing with one offs. They wanted to deal with a distribution company who had aggregated all of this content and then they just wrote the distribution to check for everything and it got divided up. Right, right, right. So now we, there are entities out there who can basically transcode your film and get it ready to go into all of these different digital platforms, you know, when they have a, a flat fee for what that looks like, and then you get all the revenue. You don't necessarily have to go through a distribution company who's going to take 25 to 50 percent of any, any of the revenue. Right? And if so, if he can run the market or raise the money to do a marketing campaign for your release, then you can see the return of it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:24:15 Love it, love it. Excuse me. Um, I actually am, that's one of the things with this transition to digital distribution that we've seen over these last several years that it, you know, it's been kind of awkward like a teenager, but it's, I think really on that, on the, this other end of it. I feel like we really are starting to see those kinds of benefits for the independent artist. Um, and whether that's music or film, I think it's, like I said, it's been kind of awkward and people are still trying to figure it out and there's still question marks about who's going to kind of come out on top with it and all that and how things are going to fare for, you know, film in a movie theater and there's so many other things going on in the industry that will, who knows and how story toilet, how storytelling is changing. But I really do love how that's been. One of the positive outcomes of it is that you can be an independent filmmaker. You can have this idea that you believe in and you can have the support to be able to do these kinds of things. You know, like you said, if you can get it crowdfunded, um, if you can, you know, get any kind of injection in cash so that you can put behind getting the message out and then go out there and just bust your ass. You can tell your story and you can get out there in front of people all over the world and it in it. There's not this barrier for them that they're potentially used to be or that there was, it wasn't potentially that was there before that has now been that change that there's a potential now for you to get your, your work out there to people and I think that's just such an amazing thing where, you know, I'm seeing with your new project that,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:26:19 you know, people can host screenings and can really support how they want and I see tons of people on your social media and how there's like this, this community that's built off of this, that's not this. You have to see it in a film festival to hear about it and it's great to get that buzz, but it's also great to be able to just use social media to be able to have this message, get to this wide wide audience and then have it just continue to enable itself in that community. And that's what I mean.
Windy Borman: 00:26:55 It does. Yeah. And eat and each community can then have the conversation it needs to have using your film as the center piece. Exactly. Yep. And that's a really revolutionary thing because film festivals, while they're great for publicity, you're lost in a sea of sometimes hundreds of other films. Exactly. And so, um, you might have a great film, but how do you get above the noise of that to compete with, you know, a Ryan gosling film or something, you know, like I'd want to see the Ryan Gosling and film in the movie at a film festival to the like, how do you know, how do you compete with that? And you're still relying on somebody who is, has been selected to be a taste maker, right? They have to decide whether it's good enough for right enough for their community. Um, it somehow has to be a fit.
Windy Borman: 00:27:57 And to segue into the new film, you know, we're talking about women in cannabis, right? And so that's a really buzzworthy top pick right now. Right? Let's talk about, let's talk about this new industry. And then there's all these questions and just about cannabis. And we've actually had film festivals reach out to us, be super excited, and then they see the screener and then they have to send me a really embarrassed email of like, yeah, sorry, it's not gonna work and that just shows me that probably somebody on their board of directors or inside the film festival wasn't ready to have the conversation or one of their donors wasn't ready to have the conversation. So the politics involved in all of that, you know, if we're relying on a film festival to tell us what's worth seeing, I think is also dangerous. Yep.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:28:55 Yep. That's exactly the kind of the undercurrent I was, I was alluding to there, you know, because I think it's just, you know, not all festivals are the same, but knowing that that is a potential outcome is of what you just painted, you know, that it's just, that's still something we're having to deal with. And because money really talks in, some people really listen to those people when they have those issues or concerns or like you said, they're not ready to have that conversation even though they may be saying like, Oh, you know, our festival is totally behind this kind of content, you know, or, or a story or, um, mission and that it's all about the actions. It's all about the actions. And so this takes it out of those hands and puts it back into the people which the people are really who are going to make the decisions in the hint. So tell us about your new project, Mary Jane's, uh, the women of weed.
Windy Borman: 00:30:04 Yeah. So in 2014 I had the opportunity to move to Colorado and I had never been a cannabis user, but I started hearing that women were having success in this new industry. And I said, well, that's interesting. Um, but it didn't really have an access point. Um, and then as statistic came through my email, um, that 36 percent of senior leadership in the cannabis industry was women in Twenty 15 and then national average is 22 percent. So there was something about cannabis that was attracting more female leadership and that made my spidey senses tingle again, going, there's something there, right? So I interviewed over 100 people over the phone, um, men and women to just try to wrap my head around this conversation and uh, and I realized that not only was cannabis a way to talk about gender parody, but it also brought in social justice and environmental sustainability and those three core values had been present in all my other projects. So I realized that even if I didn't understand cannabis, I had an access point to help elevate the stories of the women in this industry if I could link them back to these core values. So we started filming in 2016 and the film came out on the festival circuit in 2017 and now it's available for theatrical and community screenings.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:31:48 So excited. So we also have some really fantastic terms that I would love for you to unpack for us because I just think they're, they're amazing. I love that you came up with this, but um, you referenced Ganja entrepreneurs, but out of that has come puff widgets and I love it. That's right. Kids. I said fridge. It's
Windy Borman: 00:32:11 have for jets. Is that a yes? I'll define it for you. So a puffer jet is a man or, or excuse me, a puffer jet is a woman or a man who was working for gender parody, social justice and environmental sustainability in the cannabis industry. And that came out of a brainstorming session I had with my marketing team. Um, exactly because we were hearing all of these catchy little phrases like entrepreneurs and women of weed and, you know, green goddesses and things like that. Um, and there's just so many hashtags you could use, right? So what we were trying to figure out, like how do we differentiate our conversation because we're really focused on these core values. It's not just do you like weed, right? Um, it's, do you stand for these things? Um, and Amy Robinson on my marketing team said, well, the only thing I can come up with his puffer jet and we went, we love. So yeah. Luckily we were able to buy the Urls, we hired attorneys to get the trademarks on the word and the symbol. So, you know, we basically have our version of a Nike swoosh, so we've got the puffer jet symbol, um, and the word and the US government let us trademark it,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:33:39 love it. And I saw you have a bunch of merchandise to on your own.
Windy Borman: 00:33:46 Yeah. Yeah. It's kind of become, the symbol has really become like a rallying cry, right? In some ways it's similar to the safety pin, you know, when you see it, you're like, okay, that, that person is safe and they are an ally, right? So lots of people end up getting t shirts or hats or pins. We have these little silver pins that people can wear at conferences and stuff. And Man, if we had called them puffer jet sightings to see, you know, the symbol that you created and people are walking around with it and when they meet each other, like there's this instant connection of like, oh, you're also a puffer jet. Right? You're in the circle. I love that. That's so great.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:34:36 And it's now turned into something so much bigger than itself. Right. And it all started with the film and like you said, it's become the hub.
Windy Borman: 00:34:47 Yeah. We get to brand this conversation about women in the cannabis industry around it, the film, um, and it brings so many things together, you know, not only are we talking about core values, but we interviewed 40 women from 10 different states and they're divided into five different segments of the industry. So we've got cultivation medicine, legalization, business, and then science and technology and each of these five things linked back to these core values. Um, and so the film ends up being this really broad cross section of the different types of women involved in the cannabis industry. And I accepted the responsibility very early that I needed to represent as many different types of women as possible. If I was going to say these are the women in the cannabis industry, I needed everybody to be able to have that moment of, Oh, I'm just like her.
Windy Borman: 00:35:57 I went to that school or I grew up in that neighborhood or you know, I'm like her in some capacity, right? The whole idea that if, if you can see it, you can be it, you know, I wanted women in the audience to be able to have that experience of like, oh, there's room for me to in this new industry. So we have ages, race, ethnicity, body type, sexual orientation, segmentation of the U, s segmentation of the industry. Like we took a really analytical view as to what women we ended up selecting to interview on camera. Um, and it's wonderful to be in the theater with people watching the film because you just, by the end of it, there's just this moment of empowerment that the women and the men walk out with like, yes, we do it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:36:57 Oh, I love that. I love that. When you can walk out of a piece like that, you know, and it's not just this, it's not just a film and it's not just a story, but it's a, like you said, it's like a rallying cry, you know, and it gets you really fired up to you. You know, it's, it's, it's connecting community and it's showing, you know, you get the sense of how there's a lot of people here that are feeling exactly the same and I'm not alone and it just continues to, to grow that strength and power behind this, you know, creates the movement. That's why you call it the puff bridget movement. You know, and I think that's so great because it is, it's creating this movement that is completely in tandem with similar movements in other or even similar industries. And I think that that just continues to say change is coming.
Windy Borman: 00:38:00 Well and I'll add it was really wonderful as a female director to be able to do an intersection, all feminist film that focused on opportunity, not oppression because there's so many films that come from that Intersectional Lens and yet you leave it going. Things are terrible for women or they're terrible, everything's against us, right? And instead to be able to say, no, we'll look at all the opportunity, look at what's possible, you know, that's, it's a game changer. And it ends up feeling really special because it's rare to be able to walk out and feel empowered after seeing a movie. But we're 40 women. Got To be the experts, you know, that was revolutionary on its own. We have one token white man that we let talk say we're like, okay, you can stay. But like everybody else, like the experts were women. Um, and even, you know, men in the industry have told me in all honesty that women are going to be what saves this industry and because. Well, and I would agree with that. Yeah, I mean it's, we have this
Windy Borman: 00:39:30 different connection to the planet, to each other, to other communities around the world to how we view justice and you know, it any equality and fairness. And you know, we just have a different lens on things. Um, I don't want to say that women bring compassion, right? Because if we set up a binary like that, then men are aggressive. It's like, well, let's define masculinity as only being aggressive and femininity as being compassionate, right? Like, we're much more complex than that and we should be able to have both. Right? Um, so I think there's really something special and the cannabis plant does this really well because we do use primarily the female flowers, right? So I think it taps into this deep plant wisdom that we used to have before we masculinized medicine and healing, right? Once we started burning women at the stake because they ha, they understood plant medicine and we put a bunch of dudes in white lab coats and they got to be the baby delivers and the healers and stuff, right? Like I think that that really started the disconnection between like the community and the planet, right? We change, we shifted out of this agrarian society where we were much more connected to those things. And so I think that the cannabis movement coming along when it did, is really helping us wake up and returned to these things we forgot as a species. And it's wonderful to see that women are leading the way so wonderful. And I, I, I, I want to see
Gabe Ratliff: 00:41:34 what, let's try something else, you know, like that's where I'm at. I'm like, come on guys. How many, how many millennia do you, do you need to give it that college try before you kind of say, hey, let's see, let's see what this is like, you know, let's put a female president in office. Um, and regardless,
Windy Borman: 00:41:56 the majority of this Supreme Court be women. Let's have the majority of Congress be women. Let's. Yeah, I agree. I totally agree.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:42:03 And like, let's see where this goes. Let's, you know, it's, it's not like it's, it's, it's like we just talked about before we started the show. I'm recording. You know, it's, it's not about angsty and oppression and aggression. Like you said, it's, it's about equality and just people having a voice in. I'm so glad that there is a shift. I mean, it's still, we have a really uphill battle to go, but people have these last couple of years, people have really stepped up and just having these midterm elections and seeing, you know, there were, there were a lot of people, me included who were just kinda like, okay, you know, I was supporting and I was, you know, reminding people get out there and I made sure to vote early and everything and I don't want to get super political, but it just, you know, there was a lot of concern and questioning around where's this going to fall.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:43:08 And there was a lot of, you know, pleasant surprise to see that people really do give a shit and they want to get out there and make some changes, you know. And it's not just, it's not just, you know, people in Hollywood or people that have the ability like, you know, rich white men or whatnot, you know, that, that can, that just on a whim feel like they want to support something cool and trendy. But it's, it's all kinds of people of all ages and colors and creeds and everything that are just saying no, I want to get out there and make some change. And, and like I said, I just want to but let's give it a shot. Let's see, you know, where this can take us and where things can flesh out with these kinds of conversations happening. And, and yeah, it's, it's, I, my wife is a type a personality, hardcore business woman and she keeps me centered when I'm, you know, right brain, Weirdo, creative guy, you know, and I love that, that we get to have that because you know, I'm more sensitive and she's a bad ass, you know, and it's like this nice meet that how we meet in the middle and um, and that's unique these days less so.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:44:38 I'm seeing that more and more. But you know, that's a unique thing for previous generations to have this kind of relationship. And, and uh, you know, I, I, I love it, it's not always easy but its, its, its, its growth and its in its evolution and I think it's what's needed, you know,
Windy Borman: 00:44:58 and just in hearing you talk about that, you know, we're, we're able to have a spectrum now what masculinity and femininity looks like, right? You know, you don't have to be just one type of woman or one type of man in every, anything outside of that is deviant and we have to suppress that. He gets you back to, into conforming right now. Oh wait, now we have more space for that and I really feel that feminism is good for everybody, right? Like once we recognize that all genders should have the same rights and then make it intersectional and say like all people, whether your gender conforming or not should have the same rights, you know, we get out of this, um, these tropes that patriarchy has set up for us about, well, you know, masculine identity is only toxic masculinity and femininity. It's either, you know, Madonna or the whore, right?
Windy Borman: 00:46:14 Like we have to break out of those two things. And just start looking at each other as people and when we do that, we'll see that we all ended up caring about similar things. We may disagree on how to come about like protecting those things or celebrating those things. But I think at the end of the day, like our values are going to be similar about like protecting our communities, you know, providing for our families, like, you know, having safe schools for our children to go to, you know, like all of those things. And if we can come back to those things that connect us as human beings, we can figure out all the rest of the stuff we disagree on. But right now we've polarized everything. Um, and people love to blame the media for that. Well, I'm a member of the media and I didn't do that right. I think it's hard. It's hard to say like it's the media's fault, you know, but I, I will say that the systems for how we communicate have made it easier for her to just speak to people that we agree with that wishes us further and further apart as opposed to to bring us together and within all of that there's some really fucked up shit we need to change.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:47:37 That's like another whole show. So go ahead.
Windy Borman: 00:47:42 I was just gonna say hopefully you're not a pg 13 kind of show and you didn't have to bleep me out.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:47:48 No, no. There's a lot of ease on these episodes of [inaudible] for explicit.
Windy Borman: 00:47:54 Okay. Excellent.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:47:56 Um, so I want to step back to the, you know, kind of switch gears back to the film again. What were, what were some challenges that came up during this project with, with all that we just said being, you know, part of what we're dealing with these days but also being this ever-changing conversation that's now starting to get stronger. You know, what, what were the challenges and I'd love to hear about with the film itself, but also, you know, kind of the undercurrent underneath it with the conversations happening.
Windy Borman: 00:48:32 Yeah. So when I started filming Mary Jane's the women of weed, I had an idea for the story arc, right? And as a documentary filmmaker you going with some sort of plan of like, I think this is the outline, so let's try to film these types of things when they pop up. Um, but I knew I had a really buzz worthy topic. Um, but this was in 2016, right? This was before the me too movement. And so, and it was before we had big states like Massachusetts and California who had legalized cannabis. So I had challenges just in terms of justifying the idea to focus on women. Like I even had a female investors say why do a film about women? And I was like, you know, so I had a really snarky response of like why not?
Windy Borman: 00:49:32 And then I went into statistics, right, of like, well, we're 50 percent of the population and 30 percent have speaking roles were 36 percent of senior leadership in cannabis and 22 percent elsewhere, right? Like, I had my stats down so I could help educate her, but she didn't like my answer and she didn't know nest. Right. Um, so that was a challenge just proving that women were worthy to be the protagonists of their own story. Right? So that was a challenge. The second challenge was just, um, if fundraising. So, um, I had to explain to potential investors that they could invest in a film about cannabis and that was completely legal, right? They weren't investing in anything that was touching the cannabis plant that could expose them to some federal risk. Um, so I was having to explain like irs tax code first 10 minutes and like all this other stuff it'd be built so we were able to fundraise.
Windy Borman: 00:50:35 Um, but, uh, we did a combination of a donations, sponsorships in equity investors in crowdfunding. And crowd funding was a challenge because social media kept shutting us out of our accounts. So facebook, twitter, and instagram at the time we had a three week crowdfunding campaign, um, and they kept kicking us off and we'd have to resign in and resign in and change your passwords again and again, and it ended up costing US untold amounts of donations just because we couldn't get the word out about it. Um, so that kind of censorship hasn't gone away. It's not any easier now we've been censored in trying to promote the film. Um, and you know, that's cost us distribution offers, that's costas media opportunities and things like that. But, um, the most egregious example recently happened on election day. We tried to promote a, a black and white photo of women from the suffragette movement. So a photo from 100 years ago and our message was, you know, women have fought for our right to vote today. We celebrate their sacrifice by using our voices and using our boats. And that was deemed offensive on facebook. So they would not let us promote it.
Windy Borman: 00:52:11 So you know, it's not just that we're a cannabis company, like they're now coming after other media and targeting us as saying like, well you can't, you're not allowed to participate in that discussion, which is actually violating their stated policies. So yeah, that's, that's a big challenge.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:52:33 Have you gotten any like um, because I saw what you shared around some of the language that you got from them, but have you got anything deeper than just their sort of blanket you're, you're not appropriate to be having this conversation. So you've been blocked. I mean have you got anything a little bit more thorough that had a little bit more explanation to it? Or has there ever been any other correspondences? They've kind of taken it further so you can have conversations with actual human or.
Windy Borman: 00:53:05 So you know, the facebook process is interesting. You submit to get your ad approved and an algorithm, you know, a Bot looks for some keywords are or if you've been, your page has been flagged, you know, like they, they nice it, right. And so right away we, we got denied and then there's the appeal process where you can send it where hopefully a human being is able to look at it and decide whether it complies or not. So we went through the appeal process and they still denied it. So at that point we got very vocal, started to keep it on their own because they're not taking it down, they're just not letting us boosted. And that's a problem because to get on people's home feeds, you have to pay facebook. Now facebook is so big that in order to even talk to the people who've already opted into like your page, you need to pay to communicate with them basically.
Windy Borman: 00:54:13 So, um, we, the other way to go to break the algorithm is to have a bunch of people share it all at once, right? And then the algorithm will boost it to the top of people's feeds. So if all your friends are talking about something, you'll get to see it too, right? Um, so, you know, we went that way while we were writing a press release and sending it out. But I did get an email from a human being encouraging me to sign up, um, and get permission to be a political group in order for us to run the APP, but women voting.
Windy Borman: 00:54:54 So that's how they tried to solve that problem in the past. They've not let us this year, they also didn't let us talk about Canada legalizing and they said that it's illegal to talk about that. And I said, no, it's actually not because it's legal in Canada and per your policies I'm allowed to comment on a newsworthy story and share it. And the image that they were objecting to was, um, it was the Canadian flag, but we had turned our puffer jet symbol red and replaced it for the red maple leaf and that, that is a US federally registered trademark. So they're trying to say as a film when it's illegal, which films are still legal, they're saying we can't talk about cannabis because it's illegal, but it was legal in Canada and we were trying to target people in Canada. And then the symbol, they're saying that's illegal.
Windy Borman: 00:55:54 But no, the US federal government has approved it as a registered rep, so like the people don't even understand their policies and how they're enforcing it. Right. And so they, I keep getting this like, well thank you for your comment is we're not going to change it but we'll forward it on and it's like nobody's going to change anything right until they're forced to write. So I feel um, facebook is either going get a class action lawsuit from cannabis companies for this type of censorship, but because they're basically not abiding by the, their own state in terms of service for us, um, or where we're all going to need to go some place else. Canada, Canada. But like online, we need to go someplace, right? Like what's going to compete with facebook. Right. It's not instagram because it's owned by the same thing. Right. And twitter, it's so hard to get a strong following because everybody yells into the void, right. That there either needs to be something else or they need to change their policies are and what we're probably going to have to force them to do that.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:57:10 Yeah, I keep, I was, we were just talking about that the other day, I just keep waiting for some new thing to, to come out on the scene. That's gonna kind of start growing some, you know, building up some steam to get people off of facebook and their instagram cousin even though people love instagram, but it's like, yeah, but they bought them
Windy Borman: 00:57:37 it's policies, right. So, um, and I mean social media has really helped as an independent film. We have over 13,000 facebook fans, right? We have close to 3000 instagram followers. Um, you know, that stuff we don't have to pay for, right? Like I didn't have to buy ads in variety or the New York Times, you know, like any things to try to get people's attention. So like on the one hand, just having that social media presence and strategy has been so helpful. Right. And that's allowed independent filmmakers like myself to start connecting with audiences even before the film comes out. Right. So you have a strong following when you get to a film festival, so you can sell out your screening, which then gets publicity, but as which leads to a better distribution deal and you know, like there's all this process that you follow as an independent film make or now, um, but they're targeting anybody who dares talk about cannabis.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:58:46 Yep.
Windy Borman: 00:58:47 So they're, they're violating their policies and they're censoring and independent film, which as a US citizen I find highly offensive because I should be protected, you know? Yes. It's their platform and they get to set the rules, but they're trying to write their policies to closely follow us law around hate speech and things like that. Right. And they're failing and they're not just failing around cannabis. They're failing around violence against women. They kids like, you know, racism and transphobia and like all of these other things like canvas is just one of the issues that they're failing their, their, um, consumers, you know, at the end of the day I'm an advertiser, like I'm a customer and they're not following through on their part.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:59:39 I also heard recently like just within the last week that there's a new algorithm coming out that they're hoping is going to appease the masses on facebook. Have you heard anything about that or have they followed up with you?
Windy Borman: 00:59:56 Nope, I have not heard anything. I'll believe it when I see it. And is it going to be better or worse? You know, like I don't, I don't know, like every once in a while they, they update things and we look at it and it doesn't end up moving the needle in a positive direction. Um, you know, they blocked us from promoting our world premier at our film festivals last fall, which costs us distribution offers, right. We still sold out. We still were able to have great discussions, but we weren't able to break through the noise in a way that we wanted to write and their rationale, you know, in October 2017 was that you can't do anything on facebook that's illegal anywhere in the world. And I was like, that's a really interesting bar because I drive a car and I'm a woman that's illegal in parts of the world. So I shouldn't have to abide by what's legal for women in Saudi Arabia and Iran and you know, things like that, right. As a US citizen. So they got some pushback from that. Um, and then they updated it, but it didn't make it any easier for cannabis businesses. Right. So
Gabe Ratliff: 01:01:20 yeah. Well I imagine all the other people who are shooting videos and posting them from within their car,
Windy Borman: 01:01:29 right. We can be driving it. Here's Myselfi illegal. You're not different.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:01:40 This episode is brought to you by Agatha Laura. Are you an artist, creator, entrepreneur that creates with purpose and wants to make the world a better place? If so, good Thora is your media company. We tell the world about your brand through storytelling rather than sales pitches like most other companies get torres committed to getting to the heart of your brand and its mission. So you don't just have fans but super fans that will support you for years to come. Let us tell your story today. Learn more at [inaudible] dot com. Okay. I wanted to put a pin in that and then can it come back again to the film and just ask you round these women that you get to work with, you know, what was that like and, and were they open to the experience? How did you know? Was there pushback for them to be filmed as, you know, as you said it was 2016, you said it was 2016. So I'm curious what, what was that like actually interacting with these women knowing that, you know, this was going to be promoted?
Windy Borman: 01:02:47 Well, pretty much everyone I spoke to was really open in terms of sharing their experience and connecting us with other people. Um, so just that was wonderful to be welcomed into this community and I honestly think it helped that I had done, um, the eyes of Thailand and the big picture or because I had a body of work that I could point them to and say, this is the type of thing that I do, you know, you're not going to have to wear a bikini and throw a chair and pull somebody's hair and, you know, all of those things that people think now when they're like, wait, you want to follow me with a camera? Um, what kind of show where you creating? Right? And so I was able to say, this is what we're doing. Um, so people were really generous with that. I think the biggest change we had to make pretty quickly was we had outlined to the film thinking that, okay, we're going to chart this journey of women are leading this brand new industry. We're going to have the first female president. All of these states will have voted to legalize cannabis. Like this is a girl power movie. And we legalized cannabis in most states. But then
Windy Borman: 01:04:09 we got 45 as the president, right? So people went, Yay, Cannabis, oh my God, America now what do we do at the parties where we were filming in California, Massachusetts. And literally people were crying and it was like, I can't end the movie that way. Like, so we had to regroup and think, okay, what's this film about now? Um, and that's when the structure came to me that we need to link everything back to these core values. So instead of like following a hero's journey where, you know, they, there's an inciting incident and there's an obstacle obstacle and then they go on a quest and eventually they're successful. We can't, we ripped everything apart, um, and structured it. So we would meet the expert in this field, link it to a core value, go to the next segment of the cannabis industry in Lincoln. And we kind of progressed that way.
Windy Borman: 01:05:10 Um, but that's a really big idea for an audience to get on board with. So instead of me being the voiceover narrator, I needed to be the on camera narrator. And that was changed for me because I hadn't been on camera and my other films. So, um, I also, that also meant that I needed to be really open and vulnerable about my own skepticism and where that was coming from, you know, there's drug and alcohol addiction in my family. And part of the reason I never tried cannabis was I was told it was a gateway drug and I had really absorbed that just seeing what my family was going through. So I never tried it. Um, and so putting that on camera, um, I knew it was necessary and I just had to trust that the audience was going to be rooting for me. And you, and you see these moments of enlightenment now happen where I'm like, oh, well, okay, I learned about this when I have some questions about that. Okay, I learned about this now. Now I've got some other questions, you know, and it's, it, this cycle builds right until, by the end of the film. It's like, okay, windy understands cannabis.
Windy Borman: 01:06:32 But we showed a rough cut to a test audience and their feedback was, okay, well, if windy you start out as this big skeptic at the beginning, we think you need to try cannabis by the end of the film and put that in the movie. So I did, um, and it, it's a great like pay off right for the audience to have gone on this journey. But it was also really wonderful because I was able to flip the script, you know, many women had shared with me that the first time they tried cannabis, somebody usually a man or a young man had bought something or handed than something at a party. Like maybe there was some peer pressure around it. It wasn't really consensual. They didn't really feel safe or know what was going to happen, you know. Um, and I had the chance to change that.
Windy Borman: 01:07:25 So I went to a female own dispensary. I spoke to a female bud tender. I decided what I wanted and I purchased it myself. And then I put together a group of women and called my cannabis fairy godmothers who guided me through the process. I love that, by the way, I mean, and people are, we've gotten some really great feedback from reviewers on it and they were like, it's like revolutionary in warm at the same time, you know, and um, yeah, it was authentic. I didn't know what was going to happen, right. We had two camera operators there and it was like, alright, here I go get some good stuff tonight, you know, like I wasn't really directing anymore. Um, but I think the other wonderful thing that it is, it helps start the process of de stigmatizing what a cannabis user looks like. And there's a lot of shame I think for some women to come out and be honest about their cannabis use.
Windy Borman: 01:08:34 So I owned the fact that I was in a privileged position where, you know, I, I'm not gonna lose my job because there's footage of me consuming canvas. My kids aren't going to be taken away because I don't have any kids, you know, I wasn't going to lose my home. Um, because I wasn't, I was using cannabis on the premises and that was against my lease, you know, I wasn't, I didn't have those other threats that other women faced. And so I said, screw it, let's, let's go for it, you know, and hopefully if they can see me do it and I'm okay by the end, you know, shocker, I'm not a cannabis addict now. I'm not addicted to any drug right now. Um, maybe caffeine, but like otherwise, like I, I've not, I've not lost it, right? It wasn't a gateway into stronger or harder, more dangerous things. So they can see me do that. Hopefully that allows other communities to have the conversations they need to have about cannabis use.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:09:39 Love it, love that. I was really excited to read that and I love the cannabis fairy godmothers.
Windy Borman: 01:09:49 They're really special ladies. So glad that going to me on that.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:09:53 Well, they would have to be by the why they would get that name. So where did Melissa etheridge come into the story and, and what was it like meeting her and working with her on this?
Windy Borman: 01:10:08 Well, I knew that I wanted to interview Melissa Etheridge from the get go. We had a list of celebrities that we had wanted to include in the film and she spoke at a conference where we were filming in February of Twenty 16. Um, so I was connected to her manager and her publicist and we just couldn't figure out with her flights and speaking schedule and stuff like that to do an interview then. So we just stayed in touch over the course of 10 months. Um, and finally in December of 2016 wherein we already realized that, okay, we have to change the structure of the film, um, that she was going to be in St Louis when I was in Denver. And so she would make herself available for an hour long interview if we could get ourselves out to St Louis. So I called my cinematographer, we bought tickets, we flew over, you know, we transformed a hotel room to make it look like you at a normal interview location with curtains behind her, like no bed.
Windy Borman: 01:11:18 Tell her tell room at all. Um, but she was lovely, you know. Um, and she was able to really connect some key points for us, um, you know, in everything from just her cancer story and how cannabis helped with that, um, to relating the coming out of the LGBTQ closet, is it for a lot of people, very similar to coming out of the closet, you know, like, um, and just her role, um, as being an advocate for both of those things and how she takes it very seriously, but she's not coming from a place of needing to preach to people. She's really just being authentic, being herself and saying, well, here's what it's like for me. Um, and if I can be honest about that, maybe it gets through your brain and gets into your heart and that's where things can really change. So, you know, getting those wonderful quotes from her about her experience, you know, really helped, uh, bring some things together for the film. Um, and, and open us up to talk about these bigger things, um, and how cannabis connects to them.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:12:43 Yeah. So that leads me to my next question of, you know, now that the film is done and out and you're pushing it and really promoting this movement through that, what, what's the impact been on you and these puffer jets and the cannabis industry? What have you seen since you've released Mary Janes?
Windy Borman: 01:13:11 Well, the not so great news since the film has come out is the statistics for female leadership and cannabis has had actually fallen. So in 2015 we heard that 36 percent of senior leadership was women and by the time the film came out in the fall of 2017, so 18 months later it was down to 27 percent.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:13:34 Hmm.
Windy Borman: 01:13:35 And again, the national average is only 22 percent. So what I attribute that to is in 2016 we had eight more states legalize cannabis in some capacity. And with Massachusetts and California legalizing, that opened the floodgates for a lot more traditional capital to come into the space. And so when traditional funds, funding opportunities come into a new industry, they're gonna look for a certain type of business led by a certain type of person. Right? And so what we see it happening is very similar to the startup model, where women get less than three percent of venture capital funding for their startups and people of color get less than one percent, so close to 96 percent is going to straight white men and everybody else is fighting for the difference. And we're seeing that model of rich white guys give money to other rich white guys trying to be applied to this new industry that was built as a movement.
Windy Borman: 01:14:45 So the cannabis industry is fighting the growing pains of that. Um, and they're really at this point where they need to decide are we going to do business as usual or are we gonna hold onto these core values or these tenants that we use to legalize this plant. Um, and, you know, change the way we do business. And so as a filmmaker, you know, I can't influence things necessarily. I can only talk to the experts and share their perspective. So that what we need to fix those two things are we need access to funding and we need mentorship. And that's the same that if for any problem, right, if we want to try to get more women in government, if you want to try to get more women in business and we want to try to get more women in film, like W, we need these two things.
Windy Borman: 01:15:42 So, um, those conversations are really coming out of film screenings now, um, and it's going to be interesting to see what they do and what I'm trying to do is build off the success of the Mary Jane's film and develop it into a docu series because there were women in theu , s and now Canada who are leading the charge for this and some of the, some of the leaders around the world are also women in terms of business and science and research and things like that. So we could really keep doing season after season just going around the world, interviewing the women who were leading this industry as long as we have female leaders. That's, that's really exciting. You know, I, it's interesting because I didn't start out as a cannabis advocate or activist, but I'm now really feeling called to help. Tell the stories of the women who are doing this work
Gabe Ratliff: 01:16:46 well, especially as you said, you know, this has really become because it was based on this, um, and, and going against the status quo and business and it launched this movement from within and from and authentically from the beginning and now it's just continuing to be one of the avenues where you can advocate for this that touches so many people in so many different ways and now, you know, with Canada legalizing and several so many states now in theu , s and it's just really starting to take hold, you know, uh, in other countries that have already had it legalized. Now that conversation is just getting more and more. I wanted, I venture to say easier to have, but as we just talked about facebook, that that's not always the case, but in general that conversation is getting a little bit easier with time to have those conversations globally. So go, go ahead.
Windy Borman: 01:17:48 And it's going to be interesting to see what happens. You know, we filmed the unit at the United Nations or we tried to film at the United Nations in 2016 and they kept barring us, even though we had permission in the right passes and everything, but it was really interesting because they, in 2016, the global community was not willing to have a conversation and they actually passed a resolution to not basically not change anything within the first couple minutes of the meeting as opposed to having three days of a comments section from each country and then voting at the end. So they came in knowing they weren't going to change anything basically, but they're going to have to pick up that conversation again. You know, cause we have Uruguay, Thailand and India are now looking at medical marijuana. We have Canada, we have the United States who are now a majority of people have access to some type of legal cannabis.
Windy Borman: 01:18:54 Um, you know, different countries in Europe are looking at things, you know, so, um, and a lot of people are really seeing that growing cannabis in the climates where it's native, you know, should be legal. And there's really no reason why we need to be building all of these indoor, like these greenhouses to grow the plant indoors and like add onto the carbon footprint of this plant if we could just have interstate trade in the United States and if we could have worldwide trade, you know, there are countries that I'm, like, Mongolia has been growing hemp and um, a lot of the original hemp producers in the US. We're getting it from Mongolia. So like growing it there makes sense. And then being able to ship it. Um, I mean that, that would be a game changer for people and what we really need to do from a patient's perspective is if we're using this as medicine, it needs to be affordable, right? And our health insurance needs to cover it. So we've got a lot of work that we still have to do. Um, but what I know is that we need women and people of color and people from the Lgbtq community to help lead those conversations because they got us to where we are and we can't leave their voices behind
Gabe Ratliff: 01:20:23 here, here. So I've got a few more questions and then we can kind of start wrapping things up, but I wanted to ask kind of stepping back into the realm around film, you know, this is a timely film in several ways that you are already ahead of the curve on obviously with, you know, jumping in 2016 before so many changes have occurred since and now you know, this joined so many other relevant powerful films about by women and about women. Can you speak to the current state of affairs with women in film?
Windy Borman: 01:21:04 Yeah. It's been interesting to see how the me too movement is affecting media. Um, you know, in a lot of ways, women, directors, producers, writers, cinematographers, editors, you know, the big, the big roles where women can really help shape the vision of a film or a TV show and they're now having opportunities to do that. Um, and we're talking about it right as it something that's important and we need to change the status quo and you know, can we do that via inclusion or equity writers or all these other incentives to encourage people to finally do the right thing. Right? And yet we're still not changing the behavior of all the bad behavior people, right? We're not changing the behavior of the people who are prop fitting off of exploiting people. Um, they may be a little quieter about it, but they're still there. They're still doing it and have the people who were the bad beat behaviors.
Windy Borman: 01:22:22 They went away and came back and they didn't learn their lesson. Right? And they're coming back really playing the role of a victim going, all these terrible things that have happened to me like took away my money, took away my fame, like all of these other things. Like I'm so entitled, like I should get all of that back. It was like you didn't learn the lesson. I don't think you get to come back. Like there needs to be some kind of a penance and like reparations. Right. I think that's true for, you know, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, like all of that, right? Like we don't have a process for that in our, in our country right now. Um, and I mean I had an experience recently, we were trying to raise a bit more money to help market the release of the film. Um, and I had a potential investor call me a little tramp.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:23:18 Whoa.
Windy Borman: 01:23:20 And it's like, are you kidding? It's 2018. Like, that was never cool. It's really not cool. Right? But the fact that he felt he could say that and get away with it, it was like, uh, no, I'm, I'm still in a place where when I'm in a pitch mode that I hear that and I don't, I don't call it out, I divert the conversation, right. I distract away from it. Um, and then afterwards it's, I'm, I'm in that place of like, what the fuck just happened like it, it's all of those micro and macro aggressions that we're used to dealing with and they're just compounded on each other. Right? And I'm hyper aware of them, but it still takes me time to process it, to be like, what the fuck. Like I'm, all I can do now is, you know, I'm not taking his money, like there's no room for him to invest in the film.
Windy Borman: 01:24:25 Like even if there was space, like he's not the type of person who I want to be on this journey with me and I definitely don't want that behavior to be profitable for him. Right. So no room for him. Um, but there's no real consequence, right? I'm sure he'll say something like that to the women in his office or the nonconforming people in his office, the people of color, like who knows what he's saying to other people a day to day, if that's how he behaves on a first phone call with me. So, um, but we see it everywhere, right? There's this dislike desperate grass, these old rich white men, um, to claim their last little bit of power. Right? We saw it in the law, the 2016 election. We saw desperate attempts during the midterm elections. We saw it during the cavenaugh hearing like, and I think there's just a lot of us who were just done.
Windy Borman: 01:25:27 We're, we're not accepting that as business as usual or politics as usual. And so we're seeing the, these record voter turnouts, we're seeing record numbers of women and people of color running for office and like, it's, it's great to do that and I still feel like we're pretty far away from making any big change. So all I feel I can do as a filmmaker is keep having the conversation and keep taking the whole idea of representation matters very seriously. And so who I choose to put on camera, who I choose to put behind camera, like all of that matters and the stories that we decide to tell.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:26:13 Well, and that, that's kind of piggybacks the question that I want to touch on then you just mentioned it to some degree, but you know, I just wonder with the rise of the me too, and time's up movement and you know, we even cofounded the Colorado up movement here, um, while you were here and got that started and with the increase of women in elected office and I'm growing in entrepreneurial roles, leadership roles every year. It just keeps, you know, I see this continue to see stuff and you know, linkedin and news articles and all kinds of things where you see more and more women getting these roles. Filmmakers, I mean not even just in business, a dps, you know, like lady bird, a great example and you know, this is coming from a, you know, a privileged white male. But I've, I feel like this is kind of the beginning, what I like to call kind of the dawn of the woman. What I hope will be the dawn of the woman and I feel hopeful around the direction that we're heading because of these changes that are happening in the conversations that are happening. But
Gabe Ratliff: 01:27:30 you just answered this to some degree, like I said, but where do you see this heading? And, and I know you're continuing to have conversations and put people in front of the camera that you want to speak to these topics as you just said, but, but what, what else can people do and where do you think we can head or, or where do you think we're headed? I'm realistically. And what do you think this, this turnaround is going to take?
Windy Borman: 01:28:01 Well, I think it's really interesting that you're seeing this rise of women again because I definitely feel that as well. I mean, we've had multiple waves of feminism, um, at in the past from getting women's right to vote to the women's movement. It's, you know, in the middle of the 19th century, or excuse me, the 20th century, um, you know, and that we keep kind of circling back on it, but it eventually dies off because it's not intersectional. You know, some of the criticisms I have from the feminism movement in the 19 sixties and seventies was they moved away from helping all women and it became protecting white women's right to abortion. So if we now does decide in this me too movement, that we're only going to protect women who look a certain way or act a certain way, we're going to that same backlash that we've seen after each of these other feminist movements.
Windy Borman: 01:29:06 So we have to make the world safe for women, for people of Color, for veterans, for the Lgbtq community, for people with different abilities. You know, immigrants like just everything that any vulnerable population like needs, protection, protecting and when celebrating. Right? So that's the direction I want us to go. You know, we need to really embrace this idea that women's rights are human rights and we need to be fighting for human rights. Like what we need to get away from the binary and focus more on how do we create more opportunities for people. And that's a challenge I think for though straight white men who've been profiting off of patriarchy, right? Like they number one, they feel entitled to everything they have and number two, they feel like they have to give something up for other people to be equal to zero sum game. Like, you know, any quality doesn't feel like oppression, right?
Windy Borman: 01:30:21 And yet they've bought that message of competition. Right? And, and instead we need to change it to the point of like, well there's never been enough for everyone, but let's start trying for all of us to have the same amount, right? Like, and, and that comes from the ceos making hundred times more than their lowest employees. Right? That's a human rights issue. That's something that we should be talking about. Who controls the media and the politics you'd like to have. The big things that really influenced conversations like that needs to be 50 slash 50. Um, female directors needs to be 50 slash 50, you know, and there's a lot of initiatives that have been put in place, like there's 50 slash 50 by 2020 and there is, you know, like film festivals are starting to put metrics in place to really track this stuff and that's all well and good, but I think the power really comes down to the consumers and the voters, right?
Windy Borman: 01:31:27 If the voters don't like what's happening, change it, right. Run for office and then also mobilize each other to get out the vote and say, no, we're rejecting this idea and this is the future that we want to. Right. Same thing, same thing for who gets to call the shots on a film set, right? I would say this, we need to have metrics in terms of fundraising opportunities as well, right? There was a study that came out that show that women receive less funding from their pitches and yet they get higher returns faster back to their investors. Of course they do, right? We do more with less. Right? Like if you've ever met a woman, you're like, well, of course, you know, like she looks in the fridge and is able to make this amazing meal and feed the whole village. Right?
Gabe Ratliff: 01:32:23 That is the word for women is forceful.
Windy Borman: 01:32:27 We get it done. So, you know, but just sharing those statistics with the people who walk into the room with his idea of like, oh, well the directors obviously the white guy. And he's like, uh, no, the director is right here. You know, I think the other thing that we really need, and this is how we can encourage men to be allies, is to talk about how patriarchy is fail them and they need to use their privilege to give other voices opportunities. You know, I can't tell you how many times I've been to a conference where you got five white guys up there and it's like really, you don't know any women or any people of color to it. It's 2018. Like how is this possible? Like how is this allowed, you know, from like a conference organizing perspective of. So, um, you know, Michael Moore talks about how if he's invited to speak, then he requires that there were other diverse voices and faces involved, which anybody can do, right.
Windy Borman: 01:33:35 You know, and I asked the question, you know, as a, as a white, CIS gendered woman, like who else is going to be involved, you know, and when I had the opportunity to moderate a panel, like I try to have it be as diverse as possible because you get such a richness of perspectives like that, right? Like if we all look and think the same way, like we're not gonna say anything really innovative, we're not going to inspire any great ideas in each other. Um, so my goal is we, we keep this latest wave of feminism inter sectional and I truly believe that if we do that, that's how it's gonna break through and really stick this time.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:34:20 Yeah. That's, uh, that's definitely a primary objective for me with my media company as well as with this show. I keep a tally where I'm leaning. I'm skewing just a little bit to men currently, but I have more women in the queue to be interviewed and you know, and I'm continuing to try and spread as far as, you know, color and creed as well. Uh, and is and also just the types of creative creative people that I'm interviewing because I feel like it really is that so many people have fantastic stories and
Gabe Ratliff: 01:35:02 ways that they look at things and it can really just opened up so much and you in a lot of times you don't even know where it's coming, you know, and it'll be at, it could be a random question that can just bring so much to light and could be a light bulb for somebody just by how someone different puts it, you know, and just hearing it outside of your head in a different way. So I'm going to start winding this down a little bit. I want to ask before we get to some of the fun questions, do you have any advice for women that are interested in becoming filmmakers or perhaps you know, cannabis business owners based on the work that you've done over the last couple years? I mean, just regarding regarding cannabis business owners, but then also years as a filmmaker.
Windy Borman: 01:35:46 My advice is the same. It's just start like a lot of women, women wait for permission to do something or they wait to be invited to do something and my advice is always just start, like you're going to find out a lot more about your audience, about your platform, about your business, about your product, like whatever it is. If you just put yourself out there, um, and sometimes you just have to adopt this other persona of like, what would a white man do? You go out, make some business cards, you know, like talk about Your Business Plan. You talk about this great new movie that you're going to do, you know, so I'm just just adopt that. Um, and it, it's amazing what you will learn and what opportunities you will start to see.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:36:41 So what's next for you and the suffragette movement?
Windy Borman: 01:36:47 Well, we are distributing Mary Jane's the women of weed right now. We've had an opportunity with tug to have a cinema on demand screenings, so you basically can crowdfund a screening of the film at your local movie theater and if that's not the best fit, you can also license to film for a community or an educational screening at like a school, a university, a library, a community center, any of those things. So we felt it was really important to release the film on this capacity first, especially with the midterm elections and with Canada legalizing. So we are encouraging people to go to our website, Mary Jane's Film Dot Com and follow us on social media were at Mary Jane's film to sign up that way. And if you're not ready to host a screening but you, you just want to find out when we're releasing on other platforms when you can buy the blu ray or something, sign up for our newsletter because that's how we're going to announce it. And then in the. I'm still pitching the Docu series so hopefully I'll be able to announce something soon.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:37:59 Yes. So, um, I got a couple fun questions here that I thought I would ask too, just to Kinda, you know, lighten the mood as we have kind of, we, we dove into some very important, relevant and a serious conversation there. What is your favorite documentary or movie and why?
Windy Borman: 01:38:29 Well, I have my, like five desert island movies, so I'm going to pick one of those.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:38:36 What are the five you can just do the five is fine.
Windy Borman: 01:38:39 Well, no, I, I, I know which one I would pick. Like if I had, if I had to pick one, I would say Frieda. Ooh, Nice. Directed by Julie Taymor cellaring Salma Hayak. Um, and it's just that beautiful theatrical cinematic experience, you know, it's got some magical realism and anytime you can find a way to have puppets in a movie is amazing and it's about Frieda who, you know, it's such a fascinating person and artist and um, you know, the. And it was revolutionary to do the film when, when they did, I think it was like late nineties, early two thousands when it came out, but to just to have a woman of color as the lead in a film directed by a woman with a big Hollywood budget, you know, revolutionary
Gabe Ratliff: 01:39:32 Mhmm.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:39:35 Do you have a quote that you live your life by or you think of often?
Windy Borman: 01:39:46 I don't have one that I really go back to time and time again. I, I, I think it all kinda depends on my mood. But I think the common theme in everything it revolves around, uh, you know, perseverance. Um, and also acceptance. Um, I, I think I'm a pretty impatient person. I want it done. I want it to now just let me do it. Um, so I constantly have to remind myself that I have a timeline and the universe has a timeline, but the universe always wins. So I just have to focus a lot on, you know, I am doing everything in my capacity and if I'm on the path, the opportunity will eventually line up. And it does, you know, I know this, but I just have to remind myself,
Gabe Ratliff: 01:40:43 Oh man, here, here, I hear you on that one. What would you like people to away from this conversation, you know, like what? Any parting words or anything you like, you want to be sort of the top of mind thing for people to think about?
Windy Borman: 01:41:06 Well, two things, um, if we could take away, um, the first is just an opportunity to have a conversation about cannabis and how that can fit into their own lifestyle. You know, we have amazing conversations after screening Mary Janes where people ask Number One question, first question is where can I buy products by a woman or a minority owned company? And number two is who can I talk to to help me use candidate for x? Or who can talk to my partner or my family member about using cannabis to replace pharmaceuticals or any of these other things. So if the film can spark that conversation, um, that, that's a wonderful takeaway. Um, and I would hope that the, the other takeaway is just a consciousness about the type of media that they're consuming, you know, is it media that supports the status quo or is it media that subverts it or helps them reflect on something or maybe put into words something that they were thinking but didn't know how to express it, you know, there's a lot of talk about like our diet in terms of the food that we eat and our, how we exercise and stuff like that.
Windy Borman: 01:42:33 But like how are we exercising our mind? Um, and so I would encourage people to look at your media diet as well.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:42:45 That was real good. That was a sound bite. Kids, that's how you do it. That was brilliant. I love that. I love that
Gabe Ratliff: 01:43:04 your, your, your brain brain diet, right? Like think about it. I love it. No, I mean it's true. It is, you know, and I think that has become very, very relevant to me over the last, I would say year to two years especially has as I'm content creation, whether that's, you know, feature films, tv, you know, now with all of these streaming services, even more, I mean DC, Disney, you name it, everybody's about to do their own streaming service and it's commoditizing entertainment and kind of taken us back to all these like packages you had to buy on cable with all these people that cut the cord. Now they're gonna have to add all this stuff back on, you know, and it's going to be all a cart. And um, along with that, there's just been so much content creation that, you know, especially as making films has gotten cheaper, um, with equipment and things like that and, you know, being able to get more efficient.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:44:23 And um, and like we talked about like distribution of being, having more options. Um, there's just so much and you really can just get caught up in this, oh, I watched this show and I binge that show. And you know, you just, you're constantly watching content, not out making it or out doing something, even exercising, you know, I mean there's, people get, especially in, you know, nine to five jobs and even if they're not, even if they are entrepreneurs or freelancers, you know, you can bust it out there and be exhausted and come home and just want to turn off. And when you want to do that was the first thing you want to do. You were like, I want popcorn, I want some popcorn for my brain. Meanwhile, you're just feeding that machine so that, that really is a great take away to think about in the midst of so much noise out there that we can consume.
Windy Borman: 01:45:23 Thank you. Yeah, I agree with that. I mean there's a time and a place for everything to, um, but also as content creators, I feel I have a social responsibility for the type of media that I put out into the world. Yep. So if it doesn't reflect my core values, I don't take the Gig, you know, and I recognize that I'm at a point in my career where that's a privileged position, right? But what if we all did that, right? Whether, if we all were like, I'm not going to work on that commercial because it's perpetuating some terrible thing that we all want to move beyond, right. It wouldn't get done and it wouldn't get distributed, right? Like we have huge power for what we choose to work on and put our energy towards. So, um, yeah, media diet in terms of what I watched, but media diet in terms of what I create as well is I feel like it's very similar to like, how am I going to make the soup or how am I going to make you know, breakfast or dinner or whatever. Like am I going to dump a bunch of sugar in it because I'm not going to feel very good, or am I going just going to put it in the microwave after I take the plastic off like that. That's one type of media, right? Or is this going to be this rts funnel craft thing that I may get a seasonal ingredients, a no. The organic farm farmers and he doesn't like that. That's, that's game changing.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:46:55 Yep. On many levels. I mean that, that has a ripple effect on so many levels from within to, you know, externally all the way down to the, you know, with that example, you know, with, with farmers all the way to how it supports you in the therapy. I love to bake and it's part of, it's because this therapeutic and there's a zen to it and uh, and it's something that you can make homemade and share and you know what's in it and you know, it was made with love and when people eat it, you know, there's like a different experience than running to the near the nearest fast food or fast casual chain and just getting something and coming home and eating it. So, oh my gosh, what a phenomenal conversation. Thank you so much for all that you do, all the work that you've done for your continuing efforts. Um, I just, um, this has been such a blessing to have this conversation and to get all these insights from you. I'm coming from your perspective. I just, this has been amazing. Where can you tell people again where people can find you on the interwebs and how they can support you and, and where they can see or how they can see Mary Janes.
Windy Borman: 01:48:24 Yeah. So we try to be pretty easy to find. We are Mary Jane's Film Dot Com and at Mary Jane's film on Facebook, twitter, and instagram. I will say that all those social medias are like contingent were still there right now, but the best way to find, as I would say is Mary Jane's Film Dot Com. Sign up for our newsletters so we can let you know when the films available. Um, and I would just encourage everyone to host a screening to help have these conversations in their community, whether it's about cannabis, about female entrepreneurship, about women in film. I mean there's, it can go so many different ways. Um, and it's been a real honor to be able to share it with you. Gave a bit all of your followers, so thank you.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:49:14 Oh, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. I have one last question that you just remind me of the. You mentioned that one of the questions that comes out of these screenings is, um, and I actually had the same question. If people are wanting to support, you know, female, um, cannabis business, uh, businesses and are wanting to find information about, you know, a particular need that they have, um, if it's for medicinal or, and things like that that you said it was another question. Where, where can they find information like that you have something on your site or is there another kind of primary hub they can get that?
Windy Borman: 01:49:53 Unfortunately there's not like one central database or something like that that I can direct people to. There are a lot of individual sites and organizations. Some of them are different based on country or state or you know, just because things are different state to state. Um, but a couple groups targeted specifically for women are women grow into, there is minorities for medical marijuana. Um,
Windy Borman: 01:50:29 there's also industry groups for people that if they want to get involved in, in conferences, so I'm honestly googling or searching on the Internet, um, for, uh, just different cannabis groups locally is a great place for people to start. Um, social media has some too, but as we've expressed, you know, some of those things are getting shut down or blocked or even worse, they're getting shadow banned, which means a, unless you're already following them, they don't show up anywhere on social media. Okay. So, yeah, sorry, I don't have a one simple answer for that, but you know, that would be a fabulous opportunity as an entrepreneur. Do you want to create the database? Everybody uses.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:51:14 Wink, wink.
Windy Borman: 01:51:14 Right? Nudge, nudge.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:51:19 Well Windy, thank you so much again. I really appreciate you taking the time to share all this with this. And uh, I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving with your family while you're out there in Portland at their place. Love and light to you. Just keep it up. Love it.
Windy Borman: 01:51:40 Thank you. Really appreciate it.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:51:43 Well, that's it for this episode. If this is your first time listening, thank you so much for being here. I really hope you enjoyed the show. The Vitalic Project podcast comes out biweekly and is available every other Thursday for your enjoyment and all links and show notes for this episode can be found at vitalicproject.com. If you haven't yet, please subscribe to the show and leave a rating or review on itunes. If you'd like to be a guest or know someone that would be a great fit, please go to vitalicproject.com/guest. If you want to follow us, you can find us online by searching @vitalicproject. Thanks again for listening. Until next time, keep being vitalic!