Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Pair of Marijuana-Smuggling Uncles

Fresh from a recent debut screening at LA's Dances With Films, the feature documentary Grounded is set to be seen next in the city where the filmmaker grew up hearing tales about the pair of profiled marijuana-smuggling brothers.

That would be Pittsburgh, making the Friday June 14th screening at the Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival extra special for director Sean Patrick Cromwell. His second documentary is all about Terry and Jimmy Dougherty, uncles who became involved in the 1970s in large-scale smuggling of marijuana from Colombia to Florida.

As Cromwell recently explained to Chartiers Valley Patch, his latest film is the equivalent of friendly family fire:

“I’m very close to my uncles, but it’s not one of those things where you ask about the drugs at Thanksgiving dinner,” he said. “You’d hear things. You’d be in a group of their peers and hear something intriguing, but no one ever had the whole story.”

Cromwell moved from the Pittsburgh area to Los Angeles in 1993 and has since worked as a production assistant and key grip on everything from Unsolved Mysteries to Scrubs to The Hangover films. Grounded features interviews with his uncles as well as with some of the DEA and FBI agents who worked the case. Should be a lively post-screening Q&A.

Cromwell's first documentary feature, Bike Lane, examined LA's burgeoning bicycle culture. His cinematographer for Grounded, Andrew Rawson, currently shoots the ABC-TV comedy Cougar Town while producer Liz Newman is someone he met via Scrubs.


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