A story about mushrooms & meditation
What happens when you administer psychedelics to experienced zen monks? A neuroscientist and a zen master carry out a double-blind experiment on a sphinxlike mountain in Switzerland. Their goal: to examine the nature of consciousness.
“If approached respectfully and under good conditions, these substances have the power to facilitate the real deep spiritual mystical experience”
– Vanja Palmers in ‘Descending the Mountain’
On the last day of a 5-day retreat, a group of zen monks – who have never used psychedelics before  –  is given a psychedelic drug, the second group receives a placebo. Mystical experiences are induced through a combination of deep meditation and psilocybin, a psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms.This scientific experiment, which was published in Nature magazine in 2020, might be able to lift the controversy that has clouded the realm of psychedelics for far too long.
Scientist Franz Vollenweider and zen master Vanja Palmers descend from the mountain of bliss, to teach us how we can integrate mysticism into our day-to-day life.
Leaving the iconic visuals of the 60’s behind, Nevejan allows animation, sound, and A.I. visual art to create a contemporary rendering of the mystical experience of oneness with nature.
‘Descending the Mountain’ is a mesmerising testimony of inner climate change that shows us how psychedelics could create a revolution in improving mental health and strengthen our connection with our environment.
writer and director: Maartje Nevejan
director of photography: Jean Charles Counet, NSC
sound: Fokke van Saane
editor: Gys Zevenbergen
sound designer: Fokke van Saane & Alex Booy
Drone, 2nd unit: Christian Mülhauser
Production Global Inside: Milly Schloss
Production Switzerland: Annette Badenhorst
Assistant editor: Sandro Ligtenberg
Titles, mycelial graphics: Rogério Lira
Archive research: Milly Schloss
Lighting mushrooms: Mas Jansma
Animation and VFX artist: Douwe Dijkstra
A.I. creator and producer: Seyhan Lee
A.I. director: Pinar Seyhan Demirdag
A.I. artist: Feileacan McCormick
Music: Cosmo Sheldrake
Original music: Michel Banabila

© 2021 Global Inside

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