top of page
Award Winner

Festival Season:

April 2024

American Pot Story: Oaksterdam

American Pot Story: Oaksterdam



Ravit Markus, Dan Katzir
Dan Katzir


Ravit Markus

Run Time:


Awarded for the following Category(s):

Awarded Category(s)


 American Pot Story: Oaksterdam is a documentary about how change transpires in America. The account of "a small group of concerned committed citizens" (to quote Margaret Mead) who took a huge risk in order to bring about a massive shift in public perception. It all happened at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California - a magical place where cannabis history was made, falling right in place with Oakland’s rich history of civil resistance. Today when we see celebrities and corporations get into the cannabis business it’s easy to forget how many millions of people unjustly suffered and still suffer because of the American drug policy. 

Our documentary is not just an important historical chronicle of a campaign that brought into the mainstream a taboo topic, it’s also an inspiring reminder of how democracy can work when people come together in an effort to fulfill our pledge to liberty and justice for all.

Submitter Statement

A woman and a disabled man - two people from underrepresented communities - take on the American government. They seemed like hopeless dreamers and we looked ridiculous for thinking their 2010 effort to legalize marijuana in California was worth following. Yet they brought on the massive change we see today in cannabis policy. The fact that these two are the people who had that kind of courage, speaks volumes as to who has the most skin in the game of shaping life in America. Our previous film Yiddish Theater: A Love Story used one woman's story to recount a bigger historical moment - in that case, the demise of the Yiddish culture in America. Dan's first film, Out for Love… Be Back Shortly, told the story of an entire era in Israel through his personal love affair with his girlfriend at the time. Therefore, telling stories that show how the wings of history touch personal lives and sometimes are even propelled by those lives, is our interest and specialty. American Pot Story: Oaksterdam not only shows a decade of change in America regarding cannabis policy, it puts it in the context of racial disparities, violence towards women, and gun control - all major issues today's America grapples with. When we set off on this journey we thought this will only take a year, we did not expect it to take nearly a decade for the change to take place, but on this journey we learned from our characters an inspiring lesson in civil resistance and persistence.

Director/Writer/DP - Dan Katzir’s documentary films won more than a dozen international awards in the US, Europe and Asia and a nomination for the Israeli Academy Award. His films were shown in hundreds of film festivals and aired on many TV stations worldwide. His film Out for Love… Be Back Shortly became an instant classic expressing the voice of his generation and becoming the most important film about the era in which Israeli Prime-Minister Yitzhak Rabin tried to move the region from war to peace and was assassinated in the process. The film aired in the US on HBO on Valentine’s Day and was narrated by Sacha Baron Cohen for Channel 4 in the UK. Katzir’s film Yiddish Theater: A Love Story was theatrically released and got raving reviews in major newspapers including the NY TIMES and the LA TIMES. It was optioned by a production company in Los Angeles to be made into a narrative feature. Dan is a graduate of the MFA Directing Program at AFI (American Film Institute) in Los Angeles and the Film and TV Department at Tel Aviv University. He served in the Israeli army in the paratroopers (Red Beret) unit and finished his army service in the rank of Lieutenant. Director/Producer - Ravit's previous documentary features include the critically-acclaimed Yiddish Theater: A Love Story which she wrote and produced. It became a cultural phenomenon when it commercially played in theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Tel Aviv for months and months garnering raving reviews at the NY Times, LA Times, and the NY Magazine as well as many other worthy publications, and was voted one of the top 10 documentaries of 2007 in Ravit co-produced Jewish Film Festivals' darling Rock in the Red Zone by Laura Bialis (2014); and produced the Channel 4 UK documentary Porn Shutdown in 2005 which aired world-wide including on the Sundance Channel in the US and received excellent reviews in The Guardian and the London Time Out. Ravit is a graduate of the Film and TV Department at Tel Aviv University. Her final thesis film was bought and aired on the Israeli Cinema channel. In her mandatory army service in Israel she served in the video unit of the Education Corpse. After the army she fulfilled her life-long love of dance by working as a producer for the modern dance company Liat Dror and Nir Ben Gal. She was introduced to the choreographers by her beloved film teacher at Alon high school, renowned director Eitan Fox. Ravit's currently working on a documentary about Israel's champion of wheelchair badminton, Nina Gorodetsky, and her journey to the Paralympics.

Key Cast

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D CA)

Governor Gavin Newsom

Tommy Chong

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

Dale Sky Jones

Richard Lee

Kat Murti

Evan Nison

Jim Gray

Other Credits

Consulting Editor: Jacob Bricca

Additional Videography: Svetlana Cvetko

Editor: Matt Decker, Lucas Celler

bottom of page