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Filming Begins in Southern California on ‘Nuns-With-Guns’ Documentary

Variety logo Variety 4/28/2017 Robert Mitchell
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Salon Pictures has begun principal photography in Southern California on its feature documentary “Breaking Habits,” described as a real-life “nuns-with-guns tale.”

The film tells the story of the Sisters of the Valley, a group of women living as nuns who currently run an illegal marijuana farm in Merced, California, producing medicines while facing constant threat from local drug cartels and the California state Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. The women produce cannabidiol tinctures and salves which they sell online through an Etsy store. Although they wear religious habits and refer to each other as sisters they are not affiliated with any traditional religious order.

Focusing on head nun Sister Kate, Salon describes “Breaking Habits” as the story of a woman caught up in a modern day Wild West, determined to heal her community and put independence back in the hands of women. The documentary is written and directed by Rob Ryan.

“After a long period of development, I am thrilled to be partnering with Salon to bring Sister Kate’s extraordinary and complex story to the big screen,” said Ryan.

Filming on the documentary began Thursday in Merced and Los Angeles, with the film expected to be ready for release in spring 2018. It is produced by Paul Van Carter and Nick Taussig for Salon Pictures, which provided equity financing.

Ryan previously served as series producer and director on documentary series “Human Race” and directed Passion Pictures’ feature documentary “Sprint,” both for the BBC.

The film joins Salon’s feature documentary slate, which includes Ian Bonhote’s “McQueen,” the story of fashion designer Alexander McQueen, which is also currently in production. Embankment Films is handling worldwide sales on “McQueen”; rights for “Breaking Habits” are currently available.

Salon’s latest feature, “Churchill,” from “The Railway Man” director Jonathan Teplitzky, is set to open in the U.S. through Cohen Media Group on June 2 and in the U.K. through Lionsgate on June 16. “Churchill” stars Brian Cox as the World War II British prime minister in the 24 hours before the D-Day landings in June 1944. Miranda Richardson and John Slattery co-star.

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