The Source Magazine was on the red carpet for the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Adrian Grenier’s latest production “How to Make Money Selling Drugs.” The film was written and directed by Grenier’s longtime collaborator and friend Matthew Cooke.
Film Synopsis: A shockingly candid examination of how a street dealer can rise to cartel lord with relative ease, “How to Make Money Selling Drugs” is an insider’s guide to the violent but extremely lucrative drug industry. Told from the perspective of former drug dealers, and featuring interviews with hip hop moguls 50 Cent, Rick Ross, Freeway, Russell Simmons, as well as rights advocates Susan Sarandon and Woody Harrelson, the documentary shows you how a drug empire is formed, while exposing the corruption behind the “war on drugs.”
Check out our exclusive video interviews from the red carpet:
Why did you decide to produce this film?
Adrian Grenier: I’ve known Matthew for a while. He and I made a film called “Teenage Paparazzo” many years ago. And when I was at his house he had this idea on his idea board and it said, “How to make money selling drugs.” It was one thing that stood out and I said, “What is that?” And he explained to me the film that he wanted to make and I said, “This is such an important movie that we have to make and you have my complete support.” So you know, we’re finally presenting this to the world.
And what was the collaborative experience like for you and Matthew?
Adrian Grenier: Well, Matthew and I are very close. I think we have a very solid working relationship and I think it’s proven in the fact that even when we have a conflict, we always come out of it with sort of renewed appreciation for each other and I think better ideas.
And what surprised you about telling the story?
Adrian Grenier: How difficult it really is to have straight talk because there’s so much fear. You know, the war on drugs has done such a great job in making us all afraid to talk about these topics and to communicate and be honest. And so one thing that we’ve all had to come to terms with is how do we for ourselves just come out and speak candidly and be open and honest and not be afraid anymore to have the real talk.
There are drugs in every culture but the drug policy that sort of run our country, I would say unduly target minorities. So in that respect, it’s something that minority populations need to really take a serious look at and we all do because we don’t want to have anybody sort of unfairly persecuted by any law.
Q: What inspired you to direct this project?
Matthew Cooke: It came from two sources. One was Howard Zinn’s book, “People’s History of the United States,” and the integrity and importance of telling a people’s story from a people’s perspective. And then later on when I found out about the failures of the drug war, I thought this would be a really important film for people to see, a story told not just from the drug dealer’s perspective, but from people’s perspective.
Q: What influence does hip-hop have on the film?
Matthew Cooke: I’m a big fan of hip-hop. Hip hop is a music and a culture that comes from the streets. This is the people’s documentary. This is the people’s story. So it made sense to have music from all aspects of our culture, but certainly I gravitate toward you know, music I love. But it wasn’t just hip hop. There’s also a lot of that music that’s composed by Spencer Nezey who’s an absolutely brilliant LA composer, a brilliant guy.
Adrian Grenier, Bert Marcus, and Matthew Cooke celebrated The Tribeca Film Festival premiere of How to Make Money Selling Drugs at the official after-party on Thursday, April 25th, at HiLo, hosted by BR Guest. Guests sipped on specialty Bombay Sapphire gin cocktails.