The roots of Cinebis Film Festival reach back three years, grounded in the Rocky Mountains and reaching both coasts now. Sprouted in Manitou Springs in the foothills of Pike's Peak, Cinebis has also shown film in the heartland, like Tulsa and Peoria, IL. Screenings have even taken place in Mexico and Canada (for cannabis scientists at the 27th International Cannabinoid Research Symposium) as well. In January, Tower Theater will host a dozen or so for a day-long edutainment event in Oklahoma City.

So, what's with the funny name on this film festival? Cinebis is a mash up of cinema and cannabis. The message is: Cinema committed to cannabis and cannabis committed to cinema. The movies are mostly patient success stories but any film where cannabis plays a starring role are eligible for consideration.

From the very serious patient testimonials of Michael Harding (PTSD & addiction, The Ripple Effect of PTSD), Barry Shinoda (Brain tumor, Bulletproof Karma), Clark French (Multiple Sclerosis, GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution) and Coltyn Turner (Crohn's Disease, Illegally Alive) to the pure renewal of Momma in A New Leaf on Life to the contributing role MJ plays in a startup business venture in Game On, our lady cannabis is the unscripted star of each flick without delivering a single line of dialog. She gets loads of close-ups.

After a few pre-function morning options, the day starts with a live-action, local patients panel speaking about their conditions, how cannabis helps their symptoms and how their experience with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority is progressing.

At high noon, the lights go down and the audience is thrown into a bullet-riddled combat tank in the animated sequence that starts our 2018 Official Selection headliner, Beginning Of The Road. An artfully crafted short by Jeremiah Jake Thompson, which illuminates the epidemic opioid swap that war ravaged vets are making for cannabis therapy, that the powers administering their "healthcare" must be just about to change to policy on. Let's hope so because there are too many who served who deserve a retirement from chemicals. Especially if that's what they choose for their bodies.

After checking out What's Hempinin' in Hawai'i (maybe getting some ideas about Oklahoma's own hempire in the making, this first big year outdoors for the state's pilot program on thousands and thousands of acres) up come the lights for a "Grow Your Own" demonstration. More speakers will give patient and cultural perspective mixed between the two film blocks.

CB1 Reception runs 11am-5pm and CB2 Reception runs 6-11pm. There will be full day passes and VIP options available as well as ADA accommodations. Check out along with your personal calendar to see which of the options best suits your Sunday.

With seating for a thousand and two awesome screens servicing the floor and balcony areas separately, in sync, Tower's power is that there's room for everyone. Several cannabis related companies will have booth space in the lobby refreshment areas to maximize mingling. If it all gets a bit much, the balcony above will be the retreat for film focused folks.

Why combine cannabis and cinema?

Because both are journeys of discovery. Both can temporarily suspend the awareness of what is, for what could be.

We humans love our movies. Cinema’s been found to be a better message delivery method than reading, better than hearing (someone speak it), better than seeing (in 2D diagram) because it combines those senses and delivers the message passively, without effort from the audience. Mostly.

We are still expected to think. And feel. In fact, it’s the emotional impact of film that most captivates our collective and individual consciousnesses. Laughing and crying, the dramatic expressions of theater, it’s why we buy the ticket. Take us for a ride!

Join us as we heat up the theater (sorry, no hot-boxing on property) this MLK Holiday weekend on Sunday, January 20. Sure, it's a full three months before the great green holiday, but we figure 2019 is set to be a stellar year around here. Why wait to celebrate?