Pharms

Pharms - PosterWhile San Francisco experiences its second-wave Gold Rush in the form of the Techie Era, a tug of war between pharmaceutical companies and natural healthcare emerges, this time with an emphasis on marijuana and psychedelics.

“Pharms” is a short film and proof of concept for a television series.

This psychedelic dramedy offers a glimpse into opposing perspectives via visual and musical whimsy. It pays homage to a changing city and a changing ethos regarding American healthcare via the toggling dynamics of a brother and sister from San Francisco.

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While Brian fledges at the family’s pharmacy, his reefer-smoking sister, Sara, surfs and plays in a band. Things turn when their mother’s mental health begins to decline along the vein of Alzheimer’s and Sara learns of her own life-threatening diagnosis. Bound by an inherent love and concern for the family, Brian and Sara must find redemption in the midst of their clashing beliefs of western and alternative medicine.

Writer/Director: Molly McGivern

Producers: Molly McGivern, Alejandro Rodriguez Botero, Maverick Padilla

In association with Scary Cow Film, Independent Film Co-op

Pharms - pedro paredes-hazAside from conjuring the well-known issues of big pharma and alternative holisticism in their respective extremes, “Pharms” reminds us that bias begets bias. Once developed, a strange phenomenon of bias confirmation occurs whereby an accused party fulfills an expected behavior due to an accuser’s anticipations.

Have you found yourself nervous or acting like a fool while standing in the line of judgement? Have you found yourself saying things you never say and possibly don’t even believe as though your words were written out for you, as though you were fulfilling someone’s expectations?

We experience this on a daily basis and it is a result of binary thought patterns and reasoning. It is charged furthermore by electric firings in the brain and biomagnetism. It is responsible for right wing verses left wing, black verses white, good verses bad. It is responsible for causing impulsive judgements that divide between self and other, when in reality we share a variety of universal experiences.

Pharms E-CigThis pattern has served its purpose by helping us make sense of the world and it has inspired the binary code we use to program computers. But do these binary tendencies continue to serve us or are we ready to evolve?

While “Pharms” deals with concepts of family drama and conflicting practices of health care in particular, it stages the inner workings of bias formation and confirmation.

Writer and director, Molly McGivern, studied psychology at McGill University and trained as an actor at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre and Michael Howard Studios in New York. Having taken up residence in Asia, Hawaii, Europe and French-Canada, she assisted studies in “cultural chameleonness” and experienced cultural biases that affect not only beliefs but behavior and how this psychological tendency perpetuates further biases as the pendulum swings.

Pharms Behind the ScenesMolly worked with Theatre of the Oppressed founder, Augusto Boal in New York fresh after September 11th and Roma tribes in Romania alongside Dramatherapy pioneer, Dr. Sue Jennings. She designed music and theatre-based programs with orphans on Mongolian farmland and integrated Autistic students into mainstream classrooms through the use of humor in Hawaii. Molly is currently designing a program that exchanges permaculture practices with traditional Indian farming techniques in the Himalayas. Her intention is to “build bridges” and inspire people to build their own. “Pharms” is a film-based project drawing from her personal experience and expertise.

Given its rich historical impact and dramatic transformations, there is no better place to set a series about building bridges than the Golden Gate City, itself.

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