The Short Film Spotlights the Struggles and Successes of Six Families, Some of the First In The State to Use Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy Treatment
Today marks the premiere of “Chasing Hope,” a new mini-documentary following six Texas families using medical marijuana to treat their children’s epilepsy. Through a series of intimate interviews with parents, children, a neurologist, and the CEO of Texas’ first legal medical marijuana dispensary, Compassionate Cultivation, “Chasing Hope” gives an unflinching look into the patients’ lives and their search for hope and relief. The film aims to bring increased awareness to the potentially life-saving medicine and raise crucial funds for patients and their families.
From a 17-year old who testified to the efficacy of medical marijuana before the Texas House of Representatives to a family financially struggling to afford their child’s oil, “Chasing Hope” goes beyond the health benefits to explore the lesser-known issues, restrictions and costly implications that surround this controversial medication, especially in a conservative-led state.
The film was born out of the personal struggle and experiences of filmmaker, Ryan Durr. “For three years, my wife and I battled our son’s rare epilepsy disorder, and after failing half a dozen medications, we feared our options were exhausted…until we tried medical marijuana,” Durr said. “The passing of the Texas Compassionate Use Act meant patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy, like my son, could legally be prescribed medical marijuana. While it’s helped many children and families, the cost is incredibly prohibitive for many of the people that need it – we want to help change that and will be using this film in part to help raise money for these families.”
Durr is an Associate Creative Director at Team One, a fully integrated media, digital, and communications agency with offices in Dallas. The film was greenlit after winning the agency’s “Launch an Idea” program, an annual initiative meant to encourage ideas that make a difference within the community.
The Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) was first established in 2015, allowing the use of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil only for Texans diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. Though legal, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug and is not covered by insurance. As a result, the cost for treatment can range from $250 to $1,000 per month depending on the patient and severity of the condition.
“Medical marijuana has transformed the lives of thousands of Texas patients, caregivers and their families, including those featured in this documentary,” said Morris Denton, CEO of Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation. “While the Texas legislature improved access to medical marijuana in 2019, ‘Chasing Hope’ highlights the challenges and limitations that are still restricting the safe and legal access to this life-changing medicine. Every Texan suffering from debilitating or chronic symptoms deserves the option of affordable and accessible medication.”
During the filming of “Chasing Hope,” the Texas legislation expanded the TCUP to include patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, autism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, terminal cancer, spasticity and other neurodegenerative diseases. Since the documentary’s filming, many of the patients have achieved previously unreachable life milestones.
One of the patients featured, Julia—who suffered from hundreds of seizures per day before medical marijuana—not only received her driver’s license, but was accepted into Texas A&M University with honors. Callen no longer takes his original epilepsy medications, switching completely to medical marijuana and gaining multiple verbal and non-verbal skills.
To learn more about the patients and hear their journeys with medical marijuana, view the trailer and full-length film at ChasingHopeFilm.com. Donations can also be made directly through this website – all money raised will go directly to patients and their families in need of financial assistance.
About Team One
Team One is Publicis Groupe’s fully integrated media, digital and communications agency dedicated to helping premium brands thrive in the modern media landscape. Team One has five North American offices, including its Los Angeles headquarters, Dallas, New York, Chicago and Atlanta. Team One clients include Lexus, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, HSBC Premier, Expedia, Jacuzzi Brands, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, Cathay Pacific, VISA, Make-a-Wish, It Gets Better Project, Warner Brothers Interactive, and W Hotels. Visit TeamOne-USA.com.
About Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation
Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation (TOCC) is the leading licensed medical marijuana producer in Texas, working alongside physicians to provide the highest quality cannabis medicine to patients and families seeking relief across the state. As fellow Texans, we are dedicated to representing the integrity of this great state with our commitment to quality, consistency and purity in every product we produce. We remain committed to advance safe, legal access to this powerful medicine. TOCC is headquartered in Austin, with delivery throughout the entire state. For more information, visit www.texasoriginal.com.
Founded in 1995 by Lola Lott, principal/CEO, and Jack Waldrip, senior editor, the company has become an industry leader. charlieuniformtango serves as a single source production solution. The company directs, produces, shoots, edits, scores, mixes, animates, designs, and provides color services, FX, and finishing for commercials, short films, documentaries, music videos, and digital content for clients worldwide. Headquarters in Dallas, Texas with a full-service studio in Austin. www.charlieuniformtango.com
Director: Justin Wilson
Editors: Justin Wilson & Evan Linton
Post Producer: Keith Munley
Director of Photography: Philip Sheldon
Steadicam Operator: Jared Deer
AC: Nico Paprota, Scott Clark
Audio Recording: Tiago De Silva
Additional Camera: Lan Freeman
Audio Mixer: Jake Kluge
Colorist: Artie Pena
Editor Assistant: Katie Allison