Fantastic Fungi: A Film by Louie Schwartzberg
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Fantastic Fungi: A Film by Louie Schwartzberg


A Journey Through Time and Scale

Gather around for words of conscious wisdom from Louie Schwartzberg, creator of Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us.

Podcast Topics Covered:

 

Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us

Fantastic Fungi - The Film

We are interviewing Louie Schwartzberg about his newly released film — Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us. First, we venture into the inspiration for this film. Then, we’ll unpack why Louie decided to start a movement with mushrooms, what the film symbolized, and so mush more.

About Louie Schwartzberg

Louie Schwartzberg

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer. His notable career spans more than three decades and has inspired millions of viewers. He is known for his time-lapse, high-speed, and macro-cinematography techniques. 

Louie is an innovation ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has received the NAPPC Growald Award for educating the public about pollination, and has directed award-winning theatrical films for Disneynature and National Geographic.

A Documented Journey Through Time and Scale

As for the documentary, Louie shares how the film, Fantastic Fungi, takes us through “a journey of time and scale.” It acknowledges mushrooms’ ancient and omnipresent existence and reminds viewers of their fundamental participation with life on Earth. 

Not only that, but the film represents the alien-like organisms as kindred stewards of the land. Ultimately, the movie richly illustrates the great connection between all mushrooms through their mycelial network. This directly correlates to our need for conscious connection as human beings. In other words, the documentary helps us to become wise to the innate desire for homecoming with all living beings.

Trying to watch Fantastic Fungi? See your options here.

Bringing the World Compressed Wisdom

Louie and his team curated a beautiful educational documentary with all the “oohs and ahhs” of the fungal kingdom/queendom. The Fantastic Fungi film is an educational piece that will enlighten any unfamiliar viewer.  

It will introduce you to the basics of mycology (the study of fungi) and the many subfields that branch from it. Moreover, you will discover how fungi have a rare quality of existing in both microscopic and macroscopic worlds — that is, small and large-scale spheres of life.

After 30+ years of filming, viewers now have the opportunity to witness these states of existence. Imagine fungi emerging as unseeable tiny organisms into its momentary seeable body: the mushroom. 

Louie’s captivating visual time-lapses are accompanied by biological insights from leading scientists. Plus, the documentary includes moving stories of spiritual healing from fellow human beings too.

The Giant Lesson: Interconnection

 Oyster mushroom mycelium

"File:Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) mycelium in petri dish on coffee grounds.JPG" by Tobi Kellner is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

From directing the documentary, Louie gained keen knowledge. It was influenced by mycelial networks. Mycelium is the beginning stages of a mushroom and exists mostly underground. He states that it is a “shared economy where ecosystems flourish, without greed.” 

The web of mycelium brought light to Louie about our interconnectedness as human beings. We are all indeed connected to one another. And when we exist together in communities, we survive better than individuals.

Louie had no idea that making the film would spring up the realization of our need for connection. We benefit the most when we help each other. This isn’t just a hippy idea. It is something that is “psychologically, socially, emotionally, and physically” mandatory for our health. And with the current state of the world, connection is one of the highest priorities.  

Interconnection drives everything

“I would say the conclusion of the movie is that we are interconnected beings with one another. That's the reality of the world we live in.” — Louie Schwartzberg

 

Inspirations for the Documentary

Mushroom Inspiration - Psychedelics and Psilocybin

"Mushroom" by anees.waqas is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Next, much of the inspiration for the making of the film alongside most of the moving content was psychedelics. Louie shares how psychedelic trips evolved his perspective on the world. To report, human eyes can’t see everything that is in front of us. If you look through a microscope you can see the small organisms that exist in a drop of water. However, if you look away from the lens — you won’t see the living creatures at all.

Thus, Louie’s goal is to break the barriers between the seen and unseen worlds. “All those other realms are real,” he says. They exist right before our very eyes, we just can’t see them all. So, in direct relationship with psychedelic trips, filmmaking is another way to tap into seeing another spectrum of existence. In other words, cinematography is an instrument to view reality beyond what the human eye can perceive naturally.

Becoming aware of the layers we cannot naturally see opens our minds and hearts. Louie believes we shouldn’t go through life with “blinders on.” But we ought to be open to forms and ways of life that are different than our own such as other languages and species. For that matter, psychedelics play a large part in opening doors to these other states of existence.

Benefits of Psychedelics 

Psilocybin and Psychedelics in Fantastic Fungi

In terms of life, Louie was able to capture the psychedelic sequence with two John Hopkins patients, Tony and Judith. After they both received critical diagnoses, they underwent a single session of psilocybin. The result? Each patient embraced life and its equal counterpart — death. 

The fear of dying was lost in their psychedelic experience. Even with their terminal diagnosis, both participants in the Fantastic Fungi film stayed alive. Shedding the huge weight of anxiety, stress, and the fear of dying was a large factor in overcoming their illnesses.

Alex Dorr, the owner of Mushroom Revival, also shared his testimony on the power of psychedelics. When he was younger, he used a single dose to help him overcome anxiety and stress, but most importantly, suicidal tendencies. 

Importantly, the impression psilocybin left on his life pushed him into a new way of living. He let go of pharmaceuticals and embraced good things like healthy eating. His curiosity eventually brought him into the study of mushrooms where his career with fungi began. Overall, one dose inspired him to live and he gratefully received fruits of happiness from this.

The Challenges in Psychedelics

However, there is a downside to the psychedelic movement. When it comes to psilocybin use, the challenges that society faces are similar to religious persecution. Many people experience the beauty and healing that the conscious-expanding mushrooms have to offer, but they cannot openly share their testimony for fear of being imprisoned.

Louie related this suppression to the religious persecution that has happened throughout history. When he received this revelation it brought tears to his eyes. With this, he also realized the deep passion that exists behind the global movement of people becoming wise to the spiritual nature of the world. The expression of transformational psychedelic experiences is getting bottled up and it will lead to explosions.

Repressed Wisdom

In parallel, Alex brings up The Stone Ape Theory. It is said that our ancestors tried psychedelic mushrooms but were unable to communicate what they were going through. This was because the language was not developed. It is another moment in time when humans bottled up any expression of transformational experiences with mushrooms. The theory is also included in Fantastic Fungi. Louie mentions that it was a fun sequence to make. 

Beyond Fungi

In total, Louie artistically directs symbiosis (interaction between two different living organisms dwelling in close physical association) with his film sequences. That is, his documentary helps to connect humans to other species.

Fantastic Fungi is also a bridge for the audience to connect to a global “psychedelic conscious revolution.” It’s a coalesce of all organisms, individuals, and communities for a bigger purpose. At the same time, the documentary renders the beauty of Mother Nature — our home

Homecoming

Coming home with Fantastic Fungi

When we reconnect with nature, we understand that we are a part of nature. Thus, we are reconnecting with ourselves. Being in the lovely outdoors, breathing in fresh oxygen beside the trees, means getting out culture. The follows, the likes — the social media craze — friends and work, these things can keep us from the presence of the present moment. 

Fantastic Fungi takes us on a journey to become more mindful of the present moment. Luckily, the film was released at the perfect time during the pandemic. Louie saw that as an opportunity to slow down and listen to Mother Nature. It’s time to stop putting carbon emissions into the air, to stop depopulating species, and to stop feeling like the world is “running off a cliff.” 

“I can't tell you how many people [came] up to me and said… They cried… It’s not a sad movie. Why are people crying? It's because... it definitely does touch the deepest part of your soul. It's a homecoming.”— Louie Schwartzberg

 

Community Involvement

As stated in the beginning, when we exist together in communities, we survive better than individuals. To stop polluting the air, killing species, and feeling a general gloom for the state of the world — we must work together. And in the perfect timing, the right people will connect. Just like you reading this blog post from the Mushroom Revival Team.

Further, the global awakening only happens with you. It’s the audiences alongside the ones that shout out the information. People who work on spreading the word, such as Louie and Alex, and our communities support each other by listening and learning to live consciously and sustainably. Not just to save the world —  our home — but because it’s the righteous thing to do.

By doing the right thing, we become wise to the realms that we do not see. This includes the world within the mushroom kingdom. Yet, there are many ways to come home to ourselves. Fantastic Fungi is one catalyst for this homecoming. 

Collective Wisdom

With humility, Louie shares that it’s not just about mushrooms. It’s not just the documentary that is stimulating the consciousness revolution. The awakening that is happening can be accessed through many portals. Everyone can drop it. There are many leaders paving way for communities. For example, “the decriminalized movement… permaculture, chefs, foragers, environmentalists.” Local leaders are catalyzing the global conscious movement alongside Fantastic Fungi.

Finally, Louie shares how people can become wise to the truth of life through music, surfing, flowers, and many other avenues. Any portal that cultivates appreciation for living like heaven is on earth is a pathway. From this, we experience the fruits of compassion and love for each other. Then, we will observe how interconnected we all are. Louis states that “it’s not a hippie-dippy thing. It’s scientifically accurate.” 

Want more Fantastic Fungi content?

Fantastic Fungi Content

If you want to dive deeper, check out Fantastic Fungi: How Mushrooms Can Heal, Shift Consciousness, and Save the Planet Companion Book. It is edited by Paul Stamets and contains a lot of material that didn’t wind up in the movie.

Additionally, Fantastic Fungi hosted a Fungi Day on April 21st. Visit their website to view the Fungi Day Panel Discussions which include talks titled “Fantastic Fungi Field Trip,” “Shift in Consciousness,” and more. You will be greeted by many leaders in many different fields. So, be sure to celebrate Earth Day with Fungi Day by connecting with the planet and learning from fellow humans.

If you’d like to watch Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us visit fantasticfungi.com to download or rent the film. You can also view the documentary on Netflix. 

Please, be respectful of Louie’s artistry as he directed the film with many talented individuals. They all worked hard for a good salary. Pirating is not a conscious or revolutionary thing to do. Plus, it’s illegal. In the end, we are looking forward to more of Louie’s visual creations! So, we encourage you to watch and support the film! 

More from Louie Schwartzberg

Louis Schwartzberg moving art

Finally, if you want more, check out Louie’s website movingart.com. Take in a bunch of rich visuals and instrumental music. Furthermore, his artwork will take you to places all over the world. Connect with the beauty of the Earth without being surrounded by a lot of tourists in the area, such as Machu Picchu. See fine details of Mother Nature through the lens of Louie Schwartzberg

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai **Subject to error
Alex 0:16
Welcome, welcome to another episode of mushroom revival podcast is a podcast dedicated to bridging the gap between you our lovely, amazing, beautiful listeners and the wacky mysterious world of fungi. And to really bring in our mission we have a really exciting guests that we have been wanting to bring on for a while and it's the perfect timing and the perfect day to bring him on.

Lera 0:43
Everybody welcome Louie Schwartzberg, who is an award winning cinematographer, director and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades and has inspired millions of viewers. Louie is known for his time lapse, high speed and macro cinematography techniques. He's an innovation ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Science has received the North American pollinator protection campaign, grow the word for educating the public about pollination and has directed, award winning theatrical films for Disney nature and National Geographic. And today, we're going to talk about his new movie called fantastic fungi, the magic beneath us. So thanks, Louis. Thanks for coming on. We're excited.

Louie S. 1:26
Thank you guys. Great to be with you.

Lera 1:28
So first off, I kind of want to tell all of our listeners the exciting event that's happening tonight, if you wanted to mention that,

Louie S. 1:37
Yeah, we're, Well, today is fantastic fungi day. And what we're doing is we're having a global connection, given the fact that, you know, we're going through this period of social distancing, we thought it'd be great to get everybody to connect. We had planned originally to have it, you know, like Europe, Central, and then West Coast. But given what's happened with the Coronavirus, we switched it so that people could watch them film in the safety of their homes. And we have a live webinar a q&a after each screening, to enable us to connect with one another. And to find out how we're doing and to see how we can, you know, transition to these turbulent times. So the webinar is it, I think, 1pm, Pacific Time 1pm, Pacific, 6pm and nine, if you go to fantastic fun guy.com you can download or rent a movie and find out more about the webinars and webinars are free.

Alex 2:43
So awesome. So a little kind of background on you and your history. How did you get into cinematography and the kind of notable time lapse techniques that you're known for? What really inspired your career? Well,

Louie S. 3:03
I was at UCLA, and I was gonna be I think a history poli sci major fighting for social justice. My parents were both Holocaust survivors. And I think that influenced my upbringing significantly. And so I've always wanted to fight, you know, for the little guys who can't speak up for themselves. And when I arrived at UCLA was the middle of the anti war protests against the Vietnam War. And I really couldn't study the French Revolution, when there was a revolution happening right outside the classroom. So I quickly learned photography, and you know, back then there were no iPhones. So you actually had to learn photography. And I started to document all the protests and the police brutality. And I created these like photo essays that I handed into my poli sci class, which was a lot easier for me than writing a paper. So I found my voice, I really fell in love with photography. And that really opened me up to filming nature and filmmaking and, and I met my greatest teacher, Mother Nature. I mean, she taught me everything about lighting, composition, movement, texture, beauty, which I think is the secret code of language that nature has created to make us fall in love with life in order to protect it. And, and the reason why I also got into time lapse and pioneered it and I know you guys are young and hopefully you're a lot of young listeners out there is because I couldn't afford to shoot film. It was like even back then 35 millimeter movie film was $100 a minute. And when I did time lapse, I did two things. One, you're shooting like one frame every you know 10 seconds. You know, minute would take me like a couple of months to shoot a roll of film, which I could afford. But the other part obviously was a sense of wonder, watching, you know, making, you know, making the invisible visible watching flowers open and sunrises and sunsets and fog rolling in and out, seeing the magic of what nature has to provide that's beyond human perception was a giant turn on. And when you're young, you have a lot of time, and less money. And as we get older, we get a little more money in less time. So it worked out perfectly.

Lera 5:39
Yeah, and your time lapses and fantastic. fungi are so captivating. Where did you go to find this footage? And how long did it take you to collect all of it.

Louie S. 5:50
So I've had a camera rolling now, for four decades, non stop 24 hours a day, seven days a week, primarily in my studio indoors. And by shooting time lapse, that means I'm shooting let's say two seconds per day of screen time. Okay, because you're shooting like one frame every five minutes, 15 minutes. So I'm compressing time. And in 40 years of filming have have accumulated 16 hours of time lapse footage of squeezed 40 years into 16 hours. Hopefully that'll blow your mind a little bit. And so I've been filming, you know, flowers and plants and mushrooms for a long time. And that's how I was able to accumulate a lot of the content that's in the movie. I started the movie about 13 years ago, when I started to film Paul Stamets after I saw him do a presentation at bioneers. And that's how the film got started.

Alex 7:04
What was the draw to mushrooms? What was the moment where you knew you had to make fantastic fungi?

Louie S. 7:12
Yeah, it's a great question. Um, so before fantastic fungi, I worked on a film called wings of life, which was a Disneynature, you know, films, Meryl Streep, is the narrator telling the story from the point of view of a flower, getting it on with bees, bats, hummingbirds and butterflies. And it was a deep dive into this, you know, realm of pollination, which is that intersection between the animal and the plant world that really regenerates life on our planet. And when you realize how critical that is, because, you know, without the pollinators, and we don't have the food, we need the healthy food, you know, fruits, berries, nuts, vegetables, that's the food we all need to survive. And then you think, Well, what do plants need? Well, they, you know, they need water, they need sunlight, but most importantly, they need soil. And then where the soil come from? Well, we discovered that it comes from the largest organism on the planet is everywhere, you know, six times more species and plants. And it's mycelium, which is the, you know, the organism under the ground, that can break down organic matter, and rock to create soil. And I knew it was a next film I was gonna make, because I'd like to sort of, you know, do a deeper dive into the mystery. You know, like, like a little kid asking why, why, why? What is water? I mean, these are hard questions to answer when you ask the most basic, simple questions. And when you ask people, where does soil come from? They don't know. They really don't know. And so it was important for me to take like the next kind of open to peeling back the layers of the onion to do the next deeper dive into the mystery of nature.

Lera 9:17
Yeah, but working on this film has just been so delightful and interesting to the whole journey. So for those who have never seen the movie, how would you capture the essence of it in a few sentences?

Louie S. 9:31
I think it's a journey through time and scale that takes us into the foundation of life. It's also a wonderful combination of science, and beauty. It's great to have the scientists cheer truth, especially in these times of quote unquote, fake news. And the beauty part is something that allows us I think, to reconnect ourselves with nature and with our own soul.

Alex 10:02
Did you have a favorite part in the movie? I, I personally, you know, I won't give away too much. But when, during the psilocybin therapy section, I started shedding a tear, because I thought that was so beautiful to hear these personal testimonies of people, like just really, really changed their life around with the help of mushrooms and, and to have it on such a deep level and to be able to translate that in a film. Along with these magical time lapses, I think you really captured the essence of mushrooms and really brought it made it accessible to the general public. So you're probably the most connected with this film out of anyone on the planet. So I'm curious, what was your favorite? I mean, 30 years and 16 minutes, it must be really special to once you've finished the editing to watch it. And I don't know if there was a specific scene or a specific time lapse. That was really special to you. That was your favorite part of the movie?

Louie S. 11:13
Well, first of all, it was like, the the 40 years of filming guy has been squeezed to 16 hours, not minutes.

Alex 11:19
Oh, got it. Yeah,

Louie S. 11:20
That's just a minor thing. But a couple of things. It's, you know, it's interesting, I would say that my most favorite part of the film is the end, because I had no idea that I would end up making this conclusion at the end of the movie, that dead ecosystems, you know that the mycelium network under the ground, is a shared economy where ecosystems flourish, without greed. For Life, for life to continue. Communities survive better than individuals, this idea of interconnection was something I had no idea was going to be, you know, an element in the movie. And especially with with what's going on right now, it's clear that this desire for connection and interconnection is vital for our survival. I think psychologically, socially, emotionally and physically, it's so, so critical. And the mycelium network under the ground is this beautiful blueprint of how, you know, the trees are connected to one another, the mother tree, you don't can take care of its babies, by sending its signals by giving it nutrients. You know, we all we all benefit when we're all you know, helping each other. And that's the giant lesson. Not only in a movie, but I think what's happening right now, in terms of the psychedelic sequence, like I clearly knew that was, you know, very important part of the film for me. And by the way, when you said, How did you get started? Well, definitely, in my college years, I, you know, I took a mushroom psychedelic trip or two. And it totally changed my outlook and my perspective, because I realized that, you know, there's a lot more than the human eye can see. And I think it's certainly as influenced by filmmaking, it's like, shooting things at normal speed is like born, you know, if it isn't slomo, macro, micro timelapse. It's like, I want to break through the barrier, because all those other realms are real. It's just a we can see it. It isn't like some manipulation, it seems like, like a microscope can show you, you know, algae and bacteria floating in a drop of water. a telescope can you can look at Jupiter, Mars, and the rings on Saturn, right? I mean, it's real, just because you don't see it, it's real. And, and these are tools by cinematography is a tool that enables us to see beyond the narrow bandwidth of the visual color lights spectrum that the human eye can see. Right? on it. And, and that's a beautiful metaphor, too. It's like, you know, don't walk around your life with blinders on, you know, be open to other cultures, other languages, other species, other forms of live, right. It goes on and on. And so, I feel that, you know, breaking through those barriers, it is it opens your mind. It opens your heart. And so, in order to, to film the psychedelic sequence, where we had two patients from Johns Hopkins Where they are using psilocybin to help people with end of life anxiety, because they had a severe diagnosis of diagnosis. And it's incredible, that a single session with psilocybin enables them to embrace life, because they lose their fear of dying. How giant is that? And I'll share with you that both of the participants in my movie, Tony and Judith, are alive, they're doing well. And I believe that losing the the anxiety and the stress and the fear of dying, had to be a major contributor to them overcoming their.

Alex 15:51
Well, I agree, and I had a similar experience to them. And that's why I was so impactful. When I was younger, I was dealing with anxiety and depression and was suicidal at times. And with one dose of psilocybin, it completely changed my life and got off pharmaceuticals and, and got into healthy eating, got into mushrooms and, and really started my career with that curiosity, that childlike nature and was really happy, like, genuinely happy for the first time in years, many, many years and something that is, so I feel like undervalued, especially in the United States, which I'm excited, you know, movies and platforms, like, like fantastic fungi is, is starting to change the narrative in people's perspectives. And I thought that, you know, what you were talking about, with the microscope to see the algae and the telescope to see Saturn, and your films, or, you know, another tool. I've heard this as well, with psychedelics about, like, you know, it's, it's like, the telescope or the microscope, but for the soul, and, and to, I'm really grateful that you have the skills and that you created fantastic fungi to bridge the gap, and, and save so many people's lives and to change their lives, to partner and create this ecosystem, this symbiotic relationship with fungi, which was kind of the wrap up of we have to be together. We're in this together, and there's way there's so many more species besides homosapiens Yeah, and we need to collaborate and create a symbiosis. And the world is a beautiful place. It's gorgeous, you know. And, and I'm really grateful for your films to really address that. You're hungry for different dimensions that when done are normal. human eyes can can, can partake,

Louie S. 18:06
Yeah, well, you know, it's really been, excuse me. Wonderful. That has been wonderful. And when we've been doing, we launched this about four months ago, and we, we launched it in Denver, because they were the first to, you know, pass the ordinance to decriminalize, you know, mushrooms, then we went to Portland, and, and then Chicago, and then Chicago, criminalized it. So we bid on that wave of kind of writing psychedelic, you know, consciousness revolution that's going on. And what's been really beautiful, is that after the film, we've been holding the space for a conversation. You know, the ones that I've gone to, we've had, like leaders from either, you know, the decriminalized movement, or permaculture, chefs, foragers, environmentalists, and, you know, local leaders to be able to engage with the audience as well. And have everybody connect in the audience. And that's been the, the joy of I think this this film, and we were going to continue on doing that we were about to launch in Europe. And we had already we had sold out audiences in London, Stockholm, Paris, Cape Town, South Africa. I mean, this is a global movement. I mean, there is a there's an awakening that's happening. This isn't like just me or the movie. I think we're catalyzing a movement. I mean, you guys are already into it. Right? So and your listeners, I'm sure are already into it. And what we need to do is just kind of coalesce and feel connected. But after the movie, I can't tell you how many people would come up to me and said, like you said that they shed a tear. They cried. And you have to ask yourself because there's a lot of sad movie. Like why are people crying and It's because I think it definitely does touch the deepest part of your soul. It's a homecoming, when you can reconnect with nature, and you are nature, and therefore you're reconnecting with yourself. You're getting outside of the cultural, you know, constraints of, you know, your job, your friends, he likes, the social media frenzy, you know, all that crap that keeps us from not being present and mindful. And the film, I think, takes you on a journey where you, you do become mindful. And, and in this time of this pandemic, you know, it's amazing, as we're all discovering, we have more time, the one thing that money can buy, and we have to be present with ourselves, with your partner, your home, you know, it's kind of a wake up call, I believe, by Mother Nature for us to slow down and stop putting co2 into the atmosphere, stop killing species, you know, we can turn his back a little bit to where we don't have to be like always feeling like we're running off a cliff.

Lera 21:13
Yeah, I remember my mentality walking into the film and walking out was completely shifted. And, you know, these are lessons that mushrooms have taught me throughout the years, and that I try to keep with my practice day to day, but that film was just like, really drilling in those lessons again, so definitely healing.

Louie S. 21:35
Thank you. Yeah, it's kind of the time lapse is like compressed energy watching, you know, mushrooms grow and all that but the 13 years of filming with these thought leaders like Paul Stamets and you know, Michael Pollan, and he while grown the Griffiths, from, you know, Johns Hopkins, Eugenia Bone, Suzanne Simard. I mean, you know, these are hours and hours of interviews, right. And then, of course, I'm sort of condensing it into the sound bites. And the whole experience in and of itself is a 13 year time lapse, right. 13 years, it was I wasn't working on it, obviously, continuously, but sporadically, as I would have time and a little bit of money to, to work on it. And so now this finished product, you know, has, you know, come into being and, you know, it's wonderful, because it has all this, you know, I think compressed wisdom, and the timing couldn't be more perfect. I mean, had this film come out a year ago or two years ago, I don't believe it would have received the response it's getting right now think about that. I think the mushrooms figured that out for me, the, the meaning of it, I mean, you know, the psychedelic movement, what's going on now with with the pandemic, the shift of consciousness, I feel this happening, the wake up call it it has, I think created the perfect timing. And then you have also done is through this mycelial network. It has brought the right people together, as speaking together right now. The people that are listening in your audience, the people who've shown up at the theater, that people that are have worked on, you know, spreading the word, all the environmental groups, all the permaculture groups, all the gardeners, everybody who has blasted, you know, information about my movie, not in the forefront, but a lot of times, you know, in behind their message, you know, like, Hey, here's what you should be doing. These are best practices, grow your own food. And guess what? Check out fantastic, fun guy. I feel like we're a backup singer, which is really cool. Really cool, that we can support, you know, all these groups out there, the Eco villages to transition towns, people that are becoming conscious about how to live sustainably, not only be because of the catastrophe, because it's the right way to live your life.

Alex 24:13
I concur. And you're talking about this spread. This is a movement. I'm curious because you had to kind of be flexible with the pandemic going on and make the movie online so people can view it from their home. So you know, I know you've been prepping for a fantastic fungi de for for a while for this big in person event and and now I think it's perfect that people can just enjoy it from under their covers. And you know, a lot of the world is online anyways, and we're moving towards that kind of, you know, World Wide Web of mycelium, you know, on the online version. Was there anything in creating this movie that you You didn't get to or like maybe it was a specific mushroom that you wanted to time lapse and that, you know, you didn't get a chance to timelapse it or that the movement hasn't gotten to yet. Whether spreading to a certain country or partnering with specific groups. And of course, maybe maybe have plans that you, you want to keep hush hush for now and release later. But is there something big in this movement that you feel like you haven't gotten to yet?

Louie S. 25:37
No, I feel pretty good about the film, I think it it's perfect the way it is. Because if I really want to keep going on it, it really has to be a 10 part miniseries, you know, I kind of feel like the film is a really good kind of Cliff note version of the fungi kingdom. Because, you know, every every pillar that I went into whether the psychedelics you know, the dawn of time, bioremediation you know, healing the planet, healing your body, healing your soul, I mean, right, all those are full length documentary movies, right? to really do a deep dive, the use of, you know,, you know, throughout the history of man, we could go back into that the use of it indigenous cultures, and sometimes people will criticize, why why don't you cover that? or Why did you leave that out? Well, because you can only put so much to an 82 minute movie.

And so I feel that, you know, when I, you know, we finally came to the conclusion of the film, and jeld I feel really good about that. And I think that I encourage others to do the deeper dive, you know, into all these other areas could you can, you know, go on and on and on. And all the topics I just suggested spirituality, health care, gardening, by remediation, right? I mean, those giant giant topics that deserve to be explored. And I feel that this is like a good Kickstarter, you know, to trigger wonder, and awe, and curiosity, and, and let people go, but let's all go on that journey, and do the deeper dive into, you know, the benefits, and wonder and mystery of Mother Nature. I think that was just one of the note. I mean, it's not, it's not just about the mushrooms. I think the mushrooms are a portal into that world. But just like I did with wings of life, I use flowers as a portal into that world. There are many portals that go into the world of being, you know, conscious, it could be music, it could be surfing it, there's so many things, you know, enable you to appreciate that we are living that this is like, you know, heaven on earth. And we can be more compassionate and loving to one another, and realize how everything is connected. It's not a hippie dippie thing. It's scientifically accurate, as you can see in my movie, and there's a lot of ways to get into it. A mushroom is a wonderful way to get into it, but certainly not the only way.

Alex 28:32
Yeah, yeah. I agree. There's a, there's a few studies where some monks and meditation, some very experienced meditation, practitioners took psilocybin mushrooms, and they described it as the same place, you know, and mushrooms are just a tool. Meditation is just a tool. And beyond, you know, psychedelics or altered states of consciousness, like there's there's many, many tools to get to the same place. Yeah. And you call this film perfect. And I'm convinced that's true, because Rotten Tomatoes gave you guys a 100% rating, which I believe is extremely rare.

Lera 29:14
Yeah.

Louie S. 29:16
I think that's pretty incredible. Also, because when you think that these critics are film critics, you know, they're, they're not Psychonauts, right? So we have, there's a double hurdle. It has to be a good film, and we're also convincing people that may not be completely on board with the idea of psychedelics being a portal into consciousness. I'm grateful. I'm so grateful. Like I said, there's there's a Buddha inside of all of us. And maybe, maybe we maybe we connected with that inner Inner Glow that everybody has inside of them. We're all walking gods.

Lera 29:57
Absolutely. I definitely felt that With all the people in the film, and some of which were our friends are the people we've also had on our podcast. How did you go about finding the cast?

Louie S. 30:10
The mycelium network. Yeah. I mean, the mushrooms connected us How else? No, just like, you know, the way you described how you guys got together, you know, there, you go to these conferences on consciousness. And, you know, bioremediation and we connect and, you know, the, it was clear that I could identify who the leaders were in the space. And we trusted one another. You know, like, When, when, when Bob Jesse in the movie, if you recall, the sequence, where he talks about how all the elders got together, and they went to esslyn, like 50 years ago, to have the first psychedelic conference. And, you know, he was, he was an Oracle, he was a third employee at Oracle, he's obviously a super smart, you know, engineer, it gets you to the common nerd. And, and when he's saying how he's talking about the fact that he has, you know, he had this experience, which he wasn't able to share with friends, workers, families, for fear prosecution. I think that was the first time he was getting that off his chest. And, and I could tell that he was getting kind of choked up. And then I started to tear up a little bit behind the lens. And then all of a sudden, this, like, Revelation occurred in my in my head, that oh, my God, this is the equivalent of religious persecution. The fact that you have a mystical experience, and you can't tell anybody for fear of going to jail. What is that? How different is that from all the, you know, persecution has occurred, you know, throughout the ages. So, it was just like, a very heavy emotional moment for me. And it also made me realize the passion that I think this movement has, because when you try to bottle something up like that, when you try to suppress spiritual, you know, transformational experiences in people, it's gonna it's gonna explode. You know? I mean, people care about that almost more than anything, I feel.

Alex 32:29
Have you read food of the gods by Terence McKenna?

Louie S. 32:32
I haven't. But I've read a lot of his little short clips. But no, I have not read the entire book.

Alex 32:39
Are you familiar with the stoned ape theory?

Louie S. 32:42
Yes. It's in a movie.

Alex 32:45
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And, you know, I thought it was funny. But there's a parallel with what you were just saying with how Terence describes, you know, our, you know, after our experiences, our ancestors experiences with mushrooms, we hadn't developed language yet. And there was this bottled up these mystical experiences that we literally for different reasons, obviously couldn't express what we were going through. And, and that was spurred the development of language. And subsequently, the theory goes our evolution as Homo sapiens and and I think, with this movie, it's another way it's another language. It's another tool that we can communicate. And it's another time in history where humans had a bottled up. We had bottled up experiences with mushrooms, and I think, I think it's our evolution to Homo cubensis.

Louie S. 33:56
I agree, and a lot of people do love the stoned ape hypothesis, which is in our film, I really enjoyed making that sequence. You know, it was so much, you know, creatively, it was it was such a challenge. It's so much fun to be having these, you know, you know, creatures, you know, eat mushrooms and go on a journey. But I think that there is no there is no better theory. As to what is the missing link, the transition from the primates to the Homo sapiens, there is no better explanation of how that happened. How did the human brain increase, you know, in size? I think it was like, you know, three times the size in a million years, which, as Dennis McKenna says, is a nanosecond in terms of evolutionary time. Yeah.

Lera 34:52
Yeah, it's really not that out there or far fetched of a theory whatsoever. It's probably like the most sound theory actually, for how that happened. So, you know, just more respect is due for psilocybin and entheogens in general. So we also have a copy of your book, which is awesome. And it's been an amazing resource at mushroom revival. It's a companion book written by Paul, if I'm understanding correctly, and I was just wondering what else you had to do with the writing of that book?

Louie S. 35:27
Yes, well, actually, it's edited by Paul Stamets. And what's really beautiful is it. It has a lot of the material that I wasn't able to put in the movie. Not only, you know, people who I interviewed, but also, you know, a deeper dive into what people like Dennis McKenna was saying, or Roland Griffiths, etc. So I filmed 300 hours of I have 300 hours of material that were filmed. So it wasn't like I was skimping on not putting everything in the movie, you know. And it was a great opportunity to create the book, where we could go into more detail about all the different verticals that are in the film.

Alex 36:17
So let's go over again, it's fantastic fungi day. And where can people tune in? What are the hours again? And is there anything else that you want to say about fantastic fungi? De?

Louie S. 36:32
Yeah, well, people can go to fantastic fungi.com. And that'll basically get them you know, on the path to figuring out how to either download or rent the film. By the way, it's pretty, it's 499, to rent 1499 to buy, hopefully, that's affordable for most people, please, please tell your friends to not pirate it. We've had a couple of issues, where, you know, people have put it up on these, like, you know, piracy sites. And I just want people to understand the amount of labor, creativity, energy that so many people put into the movie, and all the salaries that they were paid to do all of that. And for us to be able to make any film in the future. That is positive, that is conscious. The last thing you want to do is rip people off. You know, it's illegal. It's unethical, and it's bad karma. Okay, so, you know, anyways, Enough said about that, but it's it. It, it's disheartening, when people think they're being rebellious, when they're actually not being very conscious.

Alex 37:45
So it's worth the money. Totally, it's a great movie, everyone should should pay for it.

Louie S. 37:50
Yeah, I don't understand is, you know, idea that, you know, stealing is, you know, people's artistry is, you know, a revolutionary thing to do. Because I'm a revolutionary. And I respect everybody's property, you know, I don't steal food. Everybody has to work for a living. Nobody gets by for free. So we all have to be respectful. And we have to be sustainable. Right? Yes. That's the key. I mean, you can't just be, you know, doing good. And and expecting people to give you charity or handouts, right? I mean, anything you do to the podcast you do, you've worked out a model that is going to be have to be sustainable in order for you for to continue to serve the greater good. That is nature's operating instructions. Nothing in nature survives by a free handout, right? You have to be efficient. You have to be great at what you do. And you have to be sustainable. So anyways, sorry about that. Oh, God, we

Alex 38:57
Alex and I will certainly be purchasing the film. Yeah. And thanks. Again, available again. Yeah, we've already seen it. And we wanted to watch it again today because they loved it. And yeah, and we want to participate. There's three questions and answers today.

Louie S. 39:12
Yes. And again, I'm just going to relate to pacific time. Okay. So I'm on the west coast. So it's one o'clock, six o'clock, and 9pm. You know, these are all in the afternoon. Today, the webinars free and go to fantastic fungi.com or for a more direct path. That's fantastic. fungi.com backslash Connect. That's a direct, you know, portal right into signing up for the webinar, as well as a download. And we have 55 countries that have already signed up for the webinar, who re amazing that great so Wow. And you know, so again, two, two weeks ago, two and a half weeks ago, we were going to this was going to be a theatrical event, you're going to go to the theater, which was cool. So we can all feel that vibe of being part of a community, watch the movie. And then we were going to Skype in, you know, the q&a live. And, obviously, because of what's been going on, we had to pivot. And we want to go with the flow. And, again, maybe this is what the mushrooms wanted. Maybe this is, you know, something that they had engineered from the beginning. And so rather than trying to swim upstream, we're going downstream. And we're gonna go with the flow, where, you know, this is earlier than we wanted to make it available online. But now is the time and it's the perfect time. Because we desperately need connection. And that is the, I would say the conclusion of the movie is that we are interconnected beings with one another. That's the reality of the world we live

Alex 41:04
in. And thank you for building that bridge and making such an amazing movie it it is fantastic. And everyone should tune in, watch it today. And tune into the QA and support Louis and his his wonderful work and everyone that that went into making the movie. There's so many people some so many hours so much hard work. It's a it's a work of art. So thank you, Louis. And, and other than fantastic fungi. How can people follow your work if you're going to make future films or your other films that you made?

Louie S. 41:41
Yes. Good and moving art.com movingg.com where I have a lot of little shorts, as well as on Netflix, I have a series called moving art, which I've been told a lot of practitioners are using it for their underground journey, because it's pure music and visuals of ecosystems, forest desert flowers, Tahiti, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat. And you can go on your own personal journey because there's no narration to tell you what to think. So you can end it's all super high end. Gorgeous 4k HDR, mind blowing. visuals of nature. Wow,

Lera 42:34
What a gift that you gave the world.

Louie S. 42:36
Yeah, well, it and then now more than ever, that we're kind of you know, sequestered in our homes. It's difficult time for me perfect time. I mean, we were gonna want to have a little bit of nature. And you know, the reality of being able to even if you had the freedom, the time, the health, the money to go to let's say, Machu Picchu. That's a three day trip. And here's the other thing surprising if you go to Machu Picchu, a lot of these sacred places are being overrun by tourism, and commercialization. And you're not going to be able to be alone and meditate, you're going to be surrounded by a ton of tourists. And what I've done is I've filmed the scenes, eliminating the people. And a lot of times I have to use visual effects to literally frame by frame get rid of the people in my time lapse shots. Whoa, who am I crazy? Yeah, so you can see the fog drifting to Machu Picchu. And you can see it and it's kind of miss the splendor without the hordes of people in your face. Because that's the way it should be experienced.

Alex 43:47
Agree. Well, thank you so much, Louis. This has been a great episode. And I can't wait to hear more people raving about fantastic fungi and return on to this movement of spreading mushrooms far and wide.

Louie S. 44:01
Yeah, and thank you guys for being a catalyst and sharing the nature's intelligence and the mushrooms POV. I really, really appreciate that. Very grateful for that. Thank you guys.

Alex 44:14
Likewise, we're all in this together. So thank you, everyone for tuning in. You are also part of this journey and this movement. So spread the word keep being curious about the wacky wonderful world of fungi. Much love and May this force be with you?

Louie S. 44:31
Amen. Amen.
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Alex Dorr

Alex Dorr is the founder and CEO of Mushroom Revival. He launched Mushroom Revival with a mission to revive health with the power of mushrooms.

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