BFI Network Presents

Growing Pains

A young girl grows cannabis for her chronically ill father but school bullies want some, too.

Growing Pains Poster
Poster by Nick Chaffe & Jack Curtis

Film Synopsis

Rhea, 13 years old, is the primary carer for her father, Martin; A car accident several years prior left him with permanent neurological damage. Martin self medicates with cannabis; the only remedy he's found effective to offset his pain. When school bullies find out that Martin's medicine is home-grown, Rhea quickly learns that sharing is not always caring.

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Production Stills

Why We Made This Film

Individuals who require cannabis to treat medical conditions are among the most vulnerable in society. The law is supposed to protect these people, but due to outdated prohibition laws, these are sadly the very people who are being prosecuted and vilified. We wanted to tell this story to highlight this reality to a wider audience with the aim of invoking feelings of injustice and making the viewers ask "is this right?".

The film is not an advocation of the use of cannabis, but an exploration of societal attitudes towards it; explored using Rhea's journey and highlighted by the choices she is faced with as a consequence of continued cannabis prohibition.


Lola Wood - Rhea

Lola Wood began acting in 2018 after auditioning for a place in The Television Workshop – a BAFTA recognised acting training resource for young people in Nottingham. Growing Pains is Lola's first professional production and we're confident it will be the first of many.

Lola Wood
Photo by Vahid Gold

Garry Robson - Martin (Dad)

Garry Robson is a highly respected actor and director in disability-led performance. His appearances on television include memorable characters in popular shows including Casualty, The Bill, Pitching In and Silent Witness where he was a guest lead during the most recent season.

Garry Robson
Photo by Eoin Carey

Angel-May Webb - Bully

Angel-May Webb attends weekly acting sessions at The Television Workshop where she continues to develop her acting skills in between revising for her GCSE exams. Her past credits include the feature film Homeless Ashes and Vikings vs Vampires.

Angel May Webb
Photo by Beau-Louise Photography

Kyra Fowler - Bully

Kyra Fowler attends weekly drama sessions at The Television Workshop, having joined when she was just seven years old. In addition to acting, Kyra has a passion for musical theatre and dance, performing every year in local musical theatre productions.

Kyra Fowler
Photo by Vahid Gold

Ellie Daley - Bully

Ellie Daley has been performing since she was three years old, landing her first professional job aged ten. Ellie enjoys improvisation and wants to pursue acting as a career. Her recent credits include playing Nancy in CBBC's Jamie Johnson and Sapphire in CBBC's The Worst Witch.

Ellie Daley
Photo by Ellie Daley
Click here for the full cast and crew list


Jack Curtis - Writer & Director

Jack Curtis trained as an actor at the BAFTA winning Television Workshop in Nottingham. His involvement in this group later led to an interest in writing and directing. He has since made a career working on film & television productions in various roles and is currently developing a feature length film exploring similar subject matters and themes to Growing Pains.

Jack Curtis
Photo by Samuel Kirby

Greg Lonsdale - Producer

Greg Lonsdale has worked in the creative sector for ten years; primarily in the music industry but with heavy cross over into film and video. Greg has organised multiple UK and European tours for musicians, including support artists for Earth, Wind & Fire and the Grammy nominated Eric Bibb.

Greg Lonsdale
Photo by Greg Lonsdale

Jermaine Edwards - Cinematographer

Jermaine studied Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University before working his way up the ranks of the camera department working on celebrated productions including Bronson, 71, Pride and Top Boy. He holds a MA degree in Cinematography from the National Film and Television School in London.

Jermaine Edwards
Photo by Jermaine Edwards

Georgia Bates - Production Designer

After earning a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design, Georgia moved to Nottingham from her hometown of Blackpool to study Design for Film and Television at Nottingham Trent University. Her recent art department credits include Victoria (ITV), Gentleman Jack (BBC), Doctors (BBC), Hollyoaks (Channel 4) and Emmerdale (ITV).

Georgia Bates
Photo by Georgia Bates

Flaura Atkinson - Editor

Flaura is an accomplished editor whose work covers commercials, short films and music videos. She has recently worked with some very exciting directors, including, Ed Morris, Tiny Bullet, Malcolm Green, Joe Connor and Cloé Bailly.

Flaura Atkinson
Photo by Flaura Atkinson

Click here for the full cast and crew list

Director's Statement

I wanted to tell this story because I am passionate about medical cannabis and widening the conversation around it. I have personally witnessed transformations in loved ones where cannabis has aided their medical recoveries, and in a sadder case, witnessed the dying days of a friend made more comfortable and bearable as a result of its use. I believe that the prohibition of cannabis in the UK needs to be reassessed and attitudes need to change in ways similar to what's happening in Canada and the United States.

The film's genre is Drama. My artistic vision for the piece was for it to be firmly grounded in realism. This is because the illegal scenario of vulnerable people growing cannabis for medicine is real for thousands of people living in the UK and I wanted to convey this unfortunate reality as precisely that – reality.

Jack Curtis - 2020