From Neurons to Nirvana

(UK, Canada, 2013, 108 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
World Premiere
EXEC PRODS Jon Schultz, Mark Achbar, Betsy Carson
PROD/ED Oliver Hockenhull
MUS Lisa Walker
ANIM Colleen Stevenson
Guests in attendance.


Here we have a sure sign of progress: the psychedelic insights of the 60s counterculture, intact and now bolstered by decades of study. Drawing on an exemplary range of interviews and visualizations, Oliver Hockenhull’s film examines the effects of ayahuasca, MDMA, LSD and psilocybin. We learn about their mind-expanding properties, their potential to generate revelation and their possible and documented medical uses. Why are these substances illegal? Several reasons are posited, including their dubious association with lethal drugs like cocaine and heroin, and their open-patent status, which renders them unexploitable by Big Pharma—and a potential threat to the corporate world.

Like the drugs themselves, this movie is a challenge for the mind and a treat for the senses. It’s full of dazzling psychedelic graphics, with the familiar shifting patterns and spiritual imagery updated for our age of digital gloss, and the interview footage is formatted to link the psychedelic mind state and the Internet age. Hockenhull makes a plea for open-mindedness, for curiosity, for substances that have been used for thousands of years.

With: Dr. Gábor Máté, Dr. Julie Holland, Chris Bennett, Amanda Feilding, Dr. Charles S. Grob, Jeremy Narby, Wade Davis, Dr. Roland Griffiths, Dr. Dennis J. McKenna, Michael Winkelman, Kathleen Harrison, Dr. Michael Mithoefer, Dr. Stanislav Grof, Dr. Stephen Ross, Dr. Ingrid Pacey, Andrew Feldmar, Bob Jesse, Dr. David Healy, Manuel Schoch, Lynn Sumida, Ralph Metzner, William A. Richards, James Fadiman, Gillian Maxwell.

Note: The Oct. 1 screening will be the alternate 69-minute Understanding Psychedelic Medicines "pop version" of the film (co-directed by Mikki Willis). It will be followed by an enlightening post-screening discussion with Dr. Gábor Máté that will cover the issue of psychedelic medicine and therapeutic research.

Film Contact Information
Print Contact
Oliver Hockenhull
-, -
Phone 1: -