Watch This Indie Film About The BK Cannabis Hustle

Filmmaker and actor David Bell (fourth from L) and the production staff of the feature film "$Broke Boi."Photo: Supplied/David Bell

By: Brianna Robles

Independent filmmaker and actor David Bell always considered himself as a film and television connoisseur. In fact, as a young child, he recalled receiving a microphone as a gift and would mimic comedians like Jerry Seinfeld to make people laugh.

Now, as a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident of almost 10 years, Bell’s first feature film $Broke Boi explores the hustle culture and the rising growth of the cannabis industry in Brooklyn. $Broke Boi is set to screen at a secret cannabis shop in Bushwick and at Stuart Cafe & Cinema in Greenpoint on April 20 and April 21, respectively.

“As I grew, you know, I just kind of kept being adventurous and curious about the industry of film and TV,” Bell told BK Reader. “I really wanted to be able to tell my own stories. I think that also has a big part to play in it. It is like seeing the movies that are out now, and knowing and feeling that there’s something missing, and then wanting to explore that.”

The Brooklyn-based film follows the main character Victor Washington, who works for Sprout Services, a modern-day street cannabis shop. After getting robbed the night before he owes his company money, Washington rushes all over the borough to hit his quota.

With the help of his friends, viewers see Washington build relationships with strangers in hopes of making his money back and, more importantly, getting to the party of the summer.

Bell wrote $Broke Boi alongside actress and director Mecca Medina and other production staff in 2020. Like many people during the pandemic, Bell had lost his job and struggled to make ends meet. He said he initially didn’t receive any of the federal unemployment stimulus money, which made his desire to hustle a little greater. But because of this, he was inspired to write and make this film.

David Bell’s first feature film explores hustle culture and the rising growth of the cannabis industry in Brooklyn. Photo: Supplied/David Bell

“I was trying to figure out something to do, outside of just keeping my brain and my mental health safe and occupied,” admits Bell.

Another inspiration came from riding around Brooklyn with a friend during the pandemic.

“I was coming up to Brooklyn one day, and he was just talking like: ‘People are really going crazy out there. COVID is crazy right now.’ I’m sure people really had to take that time and opportunity to figure out what they’re doing,” he said.

When creating the film, Bell focused on highlighting the Brooklyn he was used to — not the gentrified version. Just like Washington in the film, many Brooklynites like to frolick through the streets, building bonds and meeting new people and partying on hot, summer nights, he said.

Beyond this, the film makes a larger point about the evolution of the cannabis industry. With legalization and new cannabis stores opening, marijuana is becoming democratized, Bell said.

Now instead of stoners being frowned upon, smoking marijuana is normalized and growing in popularity, Bell noted.

When watching this film, Bell said he wants viewers to realize they are stronger than they think. In fact, just as the main character gallops around town to find his tribe, Bell said there are plenty of people in this world willing to help you and lift you up.

Tickets to the screenings this weekend can be purchased here.

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