by Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.
Renowned tabloid journalist and television producer Wayne Darwen directed and stars in the new marijuana documentary,"High There," which follows the exploits of producer/journalist Dave High, as he attempts to film a television pilot but winds up stumbling into a real-life government scandal and cover-up—a plot to keep local marijuana advocate Roger Christie in prison for four years.
Intriguingly, due in large measure to the PR generated by Darwen and the film, Roger Christie was released to a halfway house a few weeks after "High There" debuted at the Action On Film International Film Festival in Monrovia, CA. This certainly demonstrates the potential power of a documentary to influence public opinion and political action.
The twist in the film is that Dave High is portrayed by Darwen himself! Darwen delivers such a convincing rendition of a stoned-out television producer that I — and others— actually believed that part of the production was true! In fact, Darwen was merely acting out a role that he had created as writer and director (with Henry Goren) of the film, and I wish to apologize for mistaking his fine acting for the real deal!
Indeed, "High There" has been categorized as a documentary comedy, but I took it quite seriously! Fascinatingly, Darwen has been compared not only to great “gonzo” journalist Hunter S. Thompson, but to Sacha Baron Cohen, who created Ali G and Borat. Just as the TV show "Almost Royal" was described as "Borat without X-rated humor and humiliation," so Dave High has been characterized as Borat with a dose of political and social activism!
"High There" is being taken on the film festival circuit ranging from Oklahoma to Australia . And, as a result of its success, a sequel is now being filmed, starring Darwen once again as Dave High and co-director Goren as his straight-laced cameraman Roland Jointz. This time, they head to Las Vegas where they again take a wrong turn and wind up in the UFO/weird capital of Pahrump — and Area 51. Perhaps this venture will yield some important revelations about that secret UFO base!