Diana Oliver is the multi-award-winning film producer of the documentary series Hempsters:
Plant the Seed (2010). A film concerning the legalization of cannabis across America and industrial hemp, which received a wide appraisal, including its part in Higher Perspective’s Top 100 Documentaries. The documentary also stars Willie Nelson and Woody Harrelson; the latter is filmed while getting arrested for planting four seeds in Kentucky.
It was activist and actor Woody Harrelson protest, planting four feral seeds in a protest in Beattyville, what brought Hemp to Diana’s attention. She was an actress in Los Angeles before she moved back to Dallas in 1994, she would go from working in front of the camera to behind it. She would become a producer at Media World television. Here the video involving Woody Harrelson would come across her desk, and her interest in the world of hemp would begin. Previously only knowing about industrial hemp from a makeup artist friend, this video would be her gateway to learning about hemp.
After seeing this video, she would begin researching hemp and became enamored with hemp. Wanting to know more, she would contact the author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and Marijuana Conspiracy (2010), Jack Herer, who she would later dedicate her first Hempsters film too. Reading his book further inspired her passion for hemp.
Jack Herer’s book outlining the history of hemp and the unjustified stigma towards it. One of the main issues talked about is deforestation which Diana strongly agreed with. Jack Herer put her on course for trying to build her legacy when he presented her with a signed copy of The Emperor Wears No Clothes and then he attended a screening of Hempsters Plant the Seed.
Next, Diana would get in contact with Joe Hickey in Kentucky, who is Woody Harrelson’s mentor and friend. Joe would introduce her to Woody and, she would pitch her idea of a documentary film to him. With the help of Dallas filmmaker, Director Michael Henning, Woody would pick them to follow his story over other filmmakers. This film would become the multi-award-winning debut film – Hempsters Plant the Seed.
Hempsters Plant the Seed focuses on the fight to legalize industrial hemp in America for US farmers, the native Americans, and all-American citizens. The film follows seven main activists:
Woody Harrelson. Actor and well-known hemp enthusiast. Woody strongly believes in hemp and its sustainability and environmental virtues.
The Graves Family. A family of Hemp farmers. Jake Graves, a patriarch of the hemp movement in Kentucky and the U.S. through the 90s and 2000s. His family has been growing hemp for generations.
Julia Butterfly Hill. An environmental activist who believes Hemp is not an alternative but a solution. Turning to hemp would help to stop deforestation is one of her main beliefs.
Craig Lee. He was an activist who traveled around with old hemp processing equipment showing ways hemp had been processed hoping people would be inspired to work with hemp in the future.
Alex White Plume. A former member of the Oglala Tribe. They were allowed to grow low-THC hemp on their reservation. He later becomes president of this organization in 2006.
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Donna Cockrel. Invited Woody into her classroom to talk about the benefits of industrial hemp. She was later fired because of this. She then received $70,000 in settlement money for her unlawful firing.
Gatewood Galbreath. Author and attorney, a vocal advocate for the prohibition of cannabis. During his political campaigns, he would incorporate ending hemp as an agricultural crop and make cannabis legal in Kentucky in his promises while running for various offices.
As well as the seven main activists, there were additional 28 allies, including Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ralph Nader, Stephen Jenkins of Third Eye Blind, Tom Cook, Joe American Horse, David Bronner, to name just a few. Diana would later deliver a copy to the film to Willie Nelson backstage at one of his concerts, where he would hug her and tell her that he was proud of her work.
The documentary got a mixed reaction
Stephanie Bishop of Hemp.com writing a glowing review. In her review calling Hempsters Plant the Seed an ‘educational tool’ for everyone who watches, it further goes onto say how everyone gains an understanding of a rich history of hemp.
The negative review comes mostly because of the featuring of Gatewood Gailbarth who used pro-marijuana rhetoric, annoying the hemp groups. The hemp groups feeling he was making too close of a connection between hemp and marijuana. Despite some negative feedback, the documentary film, however, helped to cause major changes in the attitudes towards hemp.
Woody planted the seeds for change, literally, as he planted them four feral Hemp seeds, fighting against 80 years of misinformation and attempting to change the laws of growing hemp. The marijuana movement has been so organized for many years, internationally, NORML playing a huge part in trying to get marijuana legalized.
With hemp being called Marijuana’s cousin, hemp has also benefited from such movements. The doors for industrial hemp have opened, through the efforts of Vote Hemp, Hemp Industries Association and The National Hemp Association, helping the idea of hemp farming become a reality.
So, hemp has made progress over the last couple of decades but has been no way fast enough as Diana’s film documentary shows. Hempsters Plant the Seed taking 14 years to make, as it was chronologically filmed. Woody’s story alone took seven years to film. From his planting protest, his arrest, trial, and acquittal.
Woody would not be charged or found guilty at the end of it. Woody’s story was the main inspiration for the film and formulated the whole film around his protest planting. It was also hard making the film due to the losses along the way, which would have affected everyone emotionally, wonderful people like Jack Herer, Donna Cockrel, Gatewood Galbraith, and David Madera.
Investors kept the film alive when times were tough. Such as people saying hemp is just a nickname for marijuana joke. Which could not be more wrong. Crucial investors including Roger Ford and Jesse Sayler of Patriot Bioenergy in Kentucky who co-invested in Hempsters Cannabis Car and tour.
Speaking about the Cannabis Car, Diana Oliver teamed up with Bruce Michael from Renew Sports Cars to create a new documentary series revolving around his cannabis car.
An Atlanta based band called Aviva and The Flying Penguins wrote the first song about the cannabis car. The chorus lyrics are ‘Don’t you want a car that runs on cannabis?’. Bruce would meet this band, and they would introduce him to Diana’s Hempsters Plant the Seed. They would then find each other over Facebook after the launch of his car.
The initial thinking was her to have him feature in the second of her Hempster films, Hempsters an American Revolution Canada’s Seeds of Growth.
However, they would go on to collaborate in the Hempsters Cannabis Car Sustainability Tour Documentary series together instead. Bruce contacted Diana and discussed producing his car tour under her Hempster brand. At the time he was also gaining media exposure as he was invited onto The Marijuana Show in Denver where he could pitch for one million dollars for his Renew Sports Car Company in front of Wendy Robins and Karen Paull.
The Marijuana Show is a TV show that gives people a chance to show their cannabis-related business ideas to investors. Dianna would accept his offer to work together quickly, as a million-dollar idea would gain mainstream attention and would help create awareness for documentary filmmakers.
The Hempsters Cannabis Car Sustainability Tour Documentary series is a documentary series film tour, going around the country to share Bruce’s Hero journey and his appreciation for Henry Ford pursue of the non-carbon footstep that his cannabis car provides. It was originally Henry Fords idea to build a car made out of cannabis, as he made a car out of soy, flax and cannabis hemp, and it ran on ethanol made from cannabis remains.
Sadly, the war put an end to Henry Fords cannabis car after high praise from the public. Ford would die shortly after the war and the cannabis car would be destroyed. 75 years on, however, and Michael Bruce has brought the cannabis car back.
In Denver, she would email the Denver Post asking them to provide a feature on Bruce as a contestant on The Marijuana Show. The results were outstanding. Their post would lead to the video to feature on Denver Post Online which give the cannabis even more momentum. The New York Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS would also show the video feature, and in May/June 2016 High Times draws attention to the cannabis car in their Ballers Buyers Guide. The article triggering Barcroft Media (an international media giant) to also have the video appear on their YouTube channel, Barcroft Cars.
All the publicity gained from the media outlets, helped the Hempster Cannabis Car tour to help increase awareness. The tour would follow Willie Nelson tour from Farm Aid 30 in Chicago, to the Denver where The Marijuana Show was held, while Bruce was a contestant on it. Kentucky was next to where Willie Nelson final concert for that tour was, then Brushy Mountain in homage to where Woody Harrelson planted them four Hemp seeds. The hemp car making quite the journey!
This new series differs from Hemp Plant the Seed because of its focus on hemp products, such as the car. The film fought for the legalization of industrial hemp, and many states have legalized hemps, such as Vermont and California.
In her collaboration with Bruce, she brings hemp products to the people, especially in the form of the car allow Bringing the hemp products like CBD xrp capsules to the people, especially in the form of a car allows people to see the wonders of hemp. They can touch, feel, drive, taste hemp and wear hemp, which will help raise awareness of the vilified plant.
Her continued Hempsters multi-verse will also look at these issues and raise awareness about hemp. Working with Zach Hagen and Jason Krawczyk of Alternate Ending Studios, Diana is working on creating an eight-part documentary film series about hemp.
As of September 2020, they are getting extremely close to funding this series with each episode going to be an hour long. Here are some of the films you can expect from the upcoming series.
Hempsters An American Revolution. It will document the ever-changing status of the American hemp farmers across the U.S. Talking to people from all walks of lives, celebrities, and people on the street to educate them about hemp and its benefits.
Hempsters Canada Seeds of Growth. This will document the story of Canada and their thriving Hemp farming, hopefully, to inspire its neighbor America to follow suit. Traveling around nine provinces It will feature hemp entrepreneurs and hemp products.
Hempsters Igneous Nations. The crew will follow native tribes of North America, Canada, and the World as they fight for their right to grow hemp and cannabis on their native lands.
Hempsters World. As the name suggests, this will trace the history of hemp around the world, from China to Europe, featuring the true ancient history of hemp. It will concentrate on healing and spiritual history, European homes, cars and ancient textiles made of hemp.
When these eight films come out, this will make it nine films under the Hempster franchise and the next goal would be to create Hempsters Network Channel. The special channel for people who use hemp, and people who want to learn about hemp, will be treated to all environmental films, hemp and marijuana-related films and documentaries that fight for the environment. This would be a great deal of content!
As stated above, the films still have not gained enough funding, but when they do, they will be able to be found separately on Facebook and a website will be made for them. Currently, Diana’s first film is easy to find, as it is on Apple TV, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Free Speech TV, etc.
Diana wants to create all these documentaries to leave her legacy on the world as an activist, humanitarian, a truth-seeking film-maker and educator. She aims to do this through her hemp documentaries/film series.
She wants to change people’s views on hemp
as hemp is unfairly demonized by people who misunderstand it. She wants to educate the population with her film-making to show the benefits of hemp and how useful the plant is. Industrial hemp is a viable and organic option to over-polluted areas, due to its natural resourcefulness. Hemp leaves no carbon footprint and also has great health benefits.
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