Lesra Martin was poor, illiterate and struggling on the violent streets of Brooklyn when a chance encounter with a group of Canadians shattered the confines of his life. Pulled from the chaos of the inner city and given a fresh start in Canada, Lesra became a hero when he helped to bring justice to wrongfully imprisoned American boxer Rubin Hurricane Carter. Finding the courage to change his own life, today Lesra is a lawyer and motivational speaker on the world stage.
Delving into the intensely personal story beneath the fame, this film brings together intimate interviews with Lesra, his family and friends. From his home in British Columbia to a poignant return to the streets of his childhood, Lesra reflects with humour and grace on the events that altered his life. He also grieves for family still consumed by the unforgiving ghetto, while inspiring viewers to find their own strength in adversity.
The Milk Act of 1938 made it illegal to sell raw (unpasteurized) milk in Canada. In November 2006, twenty-five armed officers staged a raid at Michael Schmidt’s farm, confiscating milk, equipment, computers and files. This film follows an activist farmer as he struggles to continue providing his “farm fresh milk” while battling authorities, preparing for his trial, and attempting to find a political solution to legally provide raw milk in Canada.
The film follows the unfolding events of the raw vs. pasteurized milk “war” from both sides of the issue—from a farmer, with the courage to challenge the laws of Canada, to the powerful $6 billion milk industry. The industry argues that only pasteurized milk should be allowed in the marketplace in order to protect the public’s health—and their milk ‘brand’. Eminent research scientists present scientific facts about pathogens and milk nutrition—while Michael’s cow-share members tell their stories of raw milk’s benefits in their lives. A Medical Officer of Health explains the public health policy that is in place to protect the public from any unsafe food products, even if it does infringe on their individual rights. The Minister of Agriculture is determined to stick with the status quo—the science seems irrefutable and the politics unmovable.
But, consider that raw milk is legal in all other G8 countries, including 28 US states. In California, it is readily available in stores and supermarkets. Michael travels there to visit the largest raw milk supplier in the USA, and discovers that even there the pressure to stop raw milk is fierce.
Crimes of Compassion takes an insider's look at the Vancouver Island Compassion Society (VICS) as it struggles to operate after being busted by the police. The VICS was established to provide affordable, medical-grade cannabis to people with degenerative illnesses throughout Vancouver Island, Canada. But all this changed when the storefront was raided by the police, its medicine confiscated. This dramatic story is fueled by the commitment and passion of the Society's operators, the anxiety and desperate need of its patients, the heated debate within the medical community, and the exasperation of the police as they attempt to enforce increasingly unenforceable laws. The film includes an inside look at a medical marijuana grow operation, and an interview with former Canadian Health Minister Alan Rock as part of an examination of the medical marijuana access regulations. One question remains: will compassion societies still play a role under the jurisdiction?