Introducing Tweed's First Artist in Residence
“Cannabis can serve the arts, and the arts can serve cannabis.”
The words roll off Ezra Soiferman’s tongue with conviction over a recent call from Montreal. A 20-year cannabis advocate who co-directed Pressure Drop, the award-winning NYU thesis film about medical marijuana, Soiferman is excited by the prospect of engaging in a dialogue that bridges the arts and cannabis communities. As Tweed’s first Artist in Residence, the Montreal filmmaker and photographer will have a shot to do just that.
Someone who has focused his lens on everything from working dogs to cod fisherman to greasy-spoon breakfast spots over the years, Soiferman says the cannabis plant offers him “as much or more richness” than any other subject he’s ever covered. Under the Artist in Residence program, he’s happy to have the time and space to explore the plant’s beauty and diversity in his own unique fashion, though subjects won’t be limited to cannabis-related themes.
His first Tweed project, “The Walls of Montreal,” which features some of the 1,500+ murals he shot throughout his hometown, is a captivating photo-based music video that will be followed up with various upcoming photo series’ shot along the road of his quest to document cannabis in all its glory. Soiferman calls the opportunity presented him – to have free reign to mix his creativity, craft and passion for all forms of cannabis – an “honour.”
“A plant like cannabis – that has so many angles and is likely more versatile than anything on our planet – is kind of a dream subject for me to cover,” he says, referring to both hemp and marijuana. “And I’m being given the encouragement by Tweed to explore it through images.”
A first-of-its-kind role at a cannabis company, Tweed’s Artist in Residence program is a year-long engagement that will see Soiferman examine the full cannabis spectrum using photography as his medium of choice. Particularly, he has embarked on a photo series called Macrojuana, which consists of close-up shots of Quebec hemp crops and Tweed’s plants. Soiferman has already been out to shoot at our Smiths Falls grow rooms and Niagara-on-the-Lake greenhouse.
Since he set out in the early 90s with a fascination for the subject, Soiferman has watched the cannabis plant’s image transform from a stigmatized taboo to a celebrated culture. He says, “it’s been so impressive, but not all that shocking, to see a thriving above-board industry form around this humble yet powerful plant. And I feel so privileged to be able to create art inspired by all this.
“To be supported by Tweed is something that I honestly could have never predicted back when I was getting into this stuff,” he reflects. “But when I look at it in retrospect, it makes sense that my vision and the vision of a sharp and forward-thinking company would align and would be able to co-create a program like this.”
"A plant like cannabis – that has so many angles and is likely more versatile than anything on our planet – is kind of a dream subject for me to cover.” – Ezra Soiferman
Soiferman has released numerous Canadian documentaries that have aired on networks ranging from CBC to CityTV. One winter he created Hemp For The Homeless, which delivered hemp food and clothing kits to Montreal homeless shelters. Most recently, he directed Grass Fed, a CBC Documentary Channel film that traces the start of actor, comedian and Tweed patient Mike Paterson’s journey with edible medical cannabis.
Not one to be pigeonholed or pinned down, Soiferman has also created projects about pickle-makers, Christmas tree sellers and the staff and fans at the last hockey game at the old Montreal Forum.
A co-founder and director of industry networking hub the Montreal Film Group, Soiferman’s films have been screened or awarded at over 35 festivals across the globe. At Tweed, he has the opportunity to continue to build on his already impressive credentials, using his art to capture the essence of the evolving cannabis space and other colourful subjects.
To dig deeper into Soiferman’s latest work, check out: http://www.ezrasoiferman.com
Follow Ezra’s photo journey on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ezrasoiferman/
Here’s to Future Growth!
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