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.
- Production stills
- Why we made this film
- Isn't medical cannabis legal now?
- Director's statement
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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 The law is supposed to protect these people, but due to outdated prohibition laws, these are sadly the very people who are being prosecuted and vilified.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Click here for the full cast and crew list
Isn't Medical Cannabis Legal Now?
In November 2018, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid introduced legislation which was supposed to make it possible for people to legally access cannabis through the National Health Service (NHS) for medical reasons. At the time, it gained a lot of press attention and campaigners hailed it as a historic victory. But sadly, it was a smokescreen. In the eight months that followed, only 12 prescriptions had been issued by the NHS.
The people who benefit the most from the change in legislation are patients who can afford expensive private healthcare. For everyone else, like Martin in the film, their only alternative is to break the law. Cannabis remains a controlled substance in the UK and offences pertaining to it carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
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