Amid the opioid and suicide epidemics, military veterans across the nation are ditching prescription medications in favor of cannabis.

In his first feature-length documentary, producer, director, and military veteran Steve Ellmore chronicles the lives of fellow veterans, spouses, and family members coping with war-related trauma and the loss of loved ones to suicide brought on by the over-prescription of pharmaceuticals.

  • Steve Ellmore
  • Steve Ellmore
  • Sue Sisley
    Key Cast
  • Boone Cutler
    Key Cast
  • Janine Lutz
    Key Cast
  • Joshua James Frey
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Military
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 11 minutes 11 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 28, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Canada, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Colorado International Activism Film Festival
    United States
    July 27, 2019
    Exclusive Screening
    Be the Change Award (Festival Theme)
Director Biography - Steve Ellmore

Steve Ellmore is an American filmmaker, photojournalist, and veterans' activist. His experience behind the camera dates back to the 1980s with his first 35mm camera. From there he migrated to TV and audio production before joining the U.S. Air Force in 1992. After retiring from the military in 2012, he picked up the camera again as a freelance photographer.

His venture into activism and filmmaking began with the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 and the looming sequestration. At the time the U.S. government was considering a reduction in military benefits, including retirement pay, as a means for reducing the federal budget. Ellmore responded with the development of Allegiance to the Same, a documentary he conceived to raise awareness of the issue. A year later the project was shelved, thanks in part to the efforts of the veterans' groups he had worked with on the film.

In 2017 he began work on his next big project, a film about veterans starting a marijuana grow in the Midwest. The original idea was scrapped due to budgetary constraints, but not before convincing Ellmore of the effectiveness of treating PTSD with cannabis.

Initially a skeptic, his research into the therapeutic benefits of the plant convinced him there's a story worth telling. He immediately began production on the documentary Unprescribed, establishing Allegiance Films LLC in the process.

Ellmore is a Southern California native who now resides in Maryland. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland University College and his master's from Johns Hopkins University, both in communications.

His portfolio includes documentaries, short films, webcasts, and social media content.

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Director Statement

Unprescribed is a self-funded, passion project conceived after learning the benefits of medical marijuana. As a military veteran and suicide survivor, I took it upon myself to share the stories of veterans who are all too hesitant to speak to others outside of the veteran community about their PTSD and war-related traumas. Unprescribed is a film by veterans for veterans.