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Esther Dere produces Netflix documentary ‘Grass is Greener’ alongside all-star team

When it comes to producing a film or television show, Esther Dere is responsible for anything and everything. As a celebrated executive producer, Dere oversees the work of producers and assistant producers to ensure a project is completed on time, within budget and maintains an artistic vision. Her day to day involves developing a simple idea to the point where it becomes the thing one sees on the big or small screen. That could involve figuring out what they are going to shoot, where they are going to shoot and how they are going to shoot it, as well as finding talent, booking talent, shaping the story, putting out fires, and dealing with logistics. Producing is a job that involves wearing many different hats, and that is just why Dere enjoys what she does so much.


“I love that no two days are the same, with all the different people I get to meet and the places I get to go. I feel so lucky to be able to do this every day,” she said.

It wasn’t as much luck as it was Dere’s versatility, hard work, and extraordinary talent that got her where she is today. Millions around the world have seen her work, whether in the TV movie Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G., or popular television series like the Emmy Award winning Undercover Boss, Timber Creek Lodge, The Taste, and more.

Earlier this year, the world had the chance to see Dere’s work with the Netflix Original Film Grass Is Greener. Weed. Marijuana. Grass. Pot. Whatever you prefer to call it, America's relationship with cannabis is a complicated one. In his directorial debut, hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy presents an unparalleled look on marijuana with The Grass Is Greener. Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill's B-Real, and Damian Marley join a range of celebrities and experts who discuss the plant's influence on music and popular culture. As more and more states join the push to legalize marijuana, Grass is Greener dives deep into the glaring racial disparities in the growing cannabis market.

“It's a relevant story that people need to know about the other side of legalization. As more and more of the country and the world move towards legalization of cannabis there is a more devastating impact that its criminalization has had on certain communities,” said Dere.

As co-producer of the film, Dere was eager to be a part of a production she believed would educate audiences on such an important issue, highlighting the problems with drug laws and how it affects African American culture. Working alongside an all-star team including Vikram Gandhi (Barry, Kumare, Vice HBO) and hip-hop impresario Fab 5 Freddy, working on the project was an amazing experience for Dere.


Dere’s main role on the film was to shape the footage into an actual film. Once all the interviews were shot, she wanted to put the pieces of the puzzle together to create a film that had a point, a structure, a purpose and is entertaining, and of course, help Fab realize his vision. Without this, the beautiful shots and compelling interviews don’t create a succinct and compelling film, and Dere knew this step was of the utmost importance.

“We shot a ton of great material but the most important thing for me when trying to build it into something was always to come back to what is the thesis, what story are we telling, what do we want people to take away from this and how do we want people to feel,” she said.

Grass is Greener was released, ironically, on April 20th, 2019. It has since been watched by millions across the globe in the 190 countries Netflix is available. For Dere, it is a great feeling knowing so many watched the film and that it’s making an impact.

“It was an honor to work with Fab and Vikram, but more importantly this was a story that needed to be told and was very timely and that's an incredible feeling knowing you are helping to push a culture forward,” said Dere.

By Annabelle Lee
Aug. 19th, 2019

Esther Dere produces Netflix documentary ‘Grass is Greener’ alongside all-star team Reviewed by JaamZIN on 8:20:00 PM Rating: 5
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