It is the story of Simon Brodigan (Cliff Chamberlain), a young man whose life of confusion and broken relationships takes a turn when he meets an older woman at a cactus shop who is abnormally understanding of his self-destructive behavior.
Cactuses was one of the very first feature-length movies to stream on the Internet, available to watch in its entirety on Google Video on March 17, 2006. It was licensed via Creative Commons and made available for full-quality download via BitTorrent two days earlier on March 15, 2006. It was featured on the Google Video blog on May 16, 2006.
Unique in its production, Cactuses was produced using an experimental production method designed to allow students to benefit from recent advances in digital video technologies. 24 high school students were selected and trained in an after-school program to perform all of the crew positions on set, with a few college students overseeing the production. Overall, 95% of the work done on Cactuses was done by this group of students -- the Arc2 Project Team.
The Arc2 Project was designed and implemented by Rick Rapoza and Matt Hannon of Pocket Change Productions in partnership with the mentor/tutoring organization Give Every Child A Chance and the vision of its founder Antone Raymus. The founding principle of the project was Production Through Passion: that is, that a quality story could be told by a group of students if all of them were equally passionate about moviemaking. Moreso, working together on a long-term, productive, creative project is a real-world educational experience, and builds confidence for everyone involved.
The Arc2 Project team trained at the San Joaquin County Office of Education's Gaylord Nelson Center in the spring of 2002, and taped Cactuses during the summer. The editing process extended well beyond that! A draft of the movie premiered at the State Theater in Modesto, CA during the summer of 2003, and a final cut was released on DVD and the Internet on March 15, 2006.