Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Waiting to Inhale" premiere in Cologne Germant at international science conference

The Dom Cathedral photo by Dan Dixon

I have come to Cologne Germany to present and discuss "Waiting to Inhale; Marijuana, Medicine and the Law" at the invitation of Franjo Grotenhermen,Executive Director of the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine. On Friday, October 2, I will be presenting and discussing the film and the latest research on medicinal cannabis with Dr. Donald Abrams, a renowned AIDS researcher and oncologist at the conference. Dr. Abrams' landmark clinical study "Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: A randomized placebo-controlled trial" was the first clinical study the United States government has allowed in over thirty years. The study was published in the prestigious Journal of Neurology in February 2007, and featured in "Waiting to Inhale".

While I have been to France four times to film the oldest cave paintings on earth and screened my films in Poland, this is the first time I have been to Germany since US financier George Gunn and festival programmer Ulla Rapp invited me to show my film "Ishi, the Last Yahi" at the 1993 Munich International Film Festival. It was a real honor that the film won the Audience Award for Best American Independent film

Cologne (Koln) and Munich (Munchen) are very different cities and both are very friendly to Americans. Inside the old city of Munich you are whisked to another time and place. There are many beautiful old buildings inside the fortress like walls of the ancient city. I have not seen as many historic buildings in Cologne but I have seen the most beautiful cathedral in the world. It is called The Dom. Next to the central train station it is a mecca for tourists from all over the world.

I arrived in Cologne by train from Frankfurt at 7AM. I was fortunate to have arrived in Cologne so early in the morning as the Dom was empty of al tourists, only a handful of local churchgoers were in one small corner of the massive structure.

While I do not attend church services in the US my great uncle Arthur Bianchi taught me to appreciate the way cathedrals and churches are designed. He was a highly regarded architect who designed and built many of the finest churches in Dallas, Texas. He taught me drafting after I finished my twice weekly piano lessons taught by my great aunt Ervie "Burr" Denman Bianchi. Burr was a concert pianist who toured Europe with my grandmother Irene Denman Cowart at the turn of the century performing in piano concerts across the continent. Irene, Arthur and Burr were educated and traveled extensively in Europe. They gave me an appreciation for art and the finer things in life. I think that is one of the reasons I have traveled so extensively in Europe and enjoy the people and different cultures so much.