In 2013, the city of Boulder, Colorado, was devastated by floods following a 1,000-year downpour. Small communities nestled in the foothills above the city were the most damaged — with homes destroyed, roads washed out and lives forever altered. With the infrastructure that allows access to those communities swept away, evacuations were orchestrated using helicopters. Long-term disaster recovery and assistance, at least the type offered by big aid organizations, had to wait until the roads were repaired — or so everybody thought.
Enter an impromptu brigade of volunteers armed with shovels, buckets and a strong desire to help in whatever way they could. Being outdoorsy meant they were undaunted by the bushwhacking it sometimes took to get to those most in need. Eventually dubbed the Mudslingers, the group made an indelible impact in the lives of those whose had been uprooted unexpectedly.
This Kickstarter-funded documentary highlights the selfless efforts of the Mudslingers and the power of lending a hand in the face of monumental disaster.
“Are you high now?” This question is posed more than once to an interview subject in Rolling Papers, which tells the story of the first year of legalized recreational pot in Colorado through the eyes of reporters for The Denver Post.
To be high in Colorado is no longer rare, no longer an indication of the stoned individual’s social status, nor necessarily related to summitting one of the state’s a fourteeners. Director Mitch Dickman imagines that legal marijuana may represent more than a culture shift in the annals of self-medication. Could it also be a way for a venerable newspaper to reach a new readership and reverse its declining fortunes?
With more states moving to legalize marijuana and polls showing a majority of Americans in favor of legal pot, the Colorado experiment may not herald a revival of traditional media, but it could be a harbinger of an increasingly permissive American culture.