Documentaries
Raw Opium (2011)
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2 X ONE-HOUR / FEATURE DOCUMENTARY

Raw Opium: Pain, Pleasure, Profits travels around the world and through time to witness the battles fought over the narcotic sap of the opium poppy.

Raw Opium Documentary poppy resin

The feature film version was screened for over a year in select Canadian and American cities, accompanied by lively panel discussions with special guests who explored the issues the film raised. The two-parter was broadcast to millions in over 30 territories worldwide and was featured on PBS NewsHour as part of The Economist Film Project.

SYNOPSIS

The raw material for heroin, opium is a substance with tremendous power to both ease pain and destroy lives as it fuels a vast illegal trade larger than the economies of many nations.

Raw Opium travels the world to profile diverse players in the opium game: an opium master in southeast Asia, a UN drug enforcement officer on the Afghan border, a former Indian government Drug Czar, and two people who confront the reality of drug addiction on a daily basis: a Portuguese street worker and a crusading Vancouver doctor.

The film reveals how a beautiful flower plays a pivotal role – not just in the lives of those who grow, manufacture and use it – but also in the increasingly tense sphere of international relations. In the process, Raw Opium challenges assumptions about addiction and the War on Drugs.

AWARDS

The film’s researcher, Scott Calbeck was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Research in 2013.

CREDITS

Director
PETER FINDLAY

Producer
ROBERT LANG

Written by
PETER D. FINDLAY
ROBERT LANG

Associate Producer / Researcher
SCOTT CALBECK

Cinematographers
DEREK ROGERS
JONATHAN BLAND

Editor
MICHAEL FULLER

Sound Recordists
MIKE FILLIPOV
AO LOO
KEVIN PINTO

Production Manager
DAVID METH

Original Music
JOHN FINDLAY

Narration
PETER D. FINDLAY
JOHN KRAMER

Narrator
JOHN RALSTON

Editorial Consultant
JOHN KRAMER

Head of Development
DAVID OPPENHEIM

Produced by KENSINGTON COMMUNICATIONS in association with TVO, CANAL D (owned by Astral Media), SCN, CTV Two, ZDF-ARTE, and SBS-TV AUSTRALIA.

Produced with the participation of the ONTARIO MEDIA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, and ROGERS DOCUMENTARY FUND.

Produced with the financial participation of CANADIAN TELEVISION FUND, and with the assistance of the CANWEST-HOT DOCS COMPLETION FUND.