The Psychedelic Renaissance Documentary

The Psychedelic Renaissance, is a feature documentary about the worldwide re-emergence of the psychedelic movement and the crucial role of psychedelic substances in human culture, from prehistoric to modern times. Our film provides free and accessible education about psychedelic substances and harm reduction, while serving as a campaign platform for drug policy reform. 



Mental health services across the world have, for decades, been unable to adequately address the crises facing both urban and rural communities affected by globalism, poverty and climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these issues a hundred-fold. We need radical approaches for unprecedented times. 

While multiple clinical studies have proven that psychedelics can effectively address conditions such as depression and addiction, we are still a long way from having government regulations that support accessibility to psychedelic research and their administration in clinical settings. 

With so many people suffering from conditions that could be improved by psychedelic medicines, the documentary argues that science and medicine would benefit from the incorporation of psychedelics into our current healthcare systems. Our film intends to further the case for policy makers to instigate laws which facilitate psychedelic research and ease its application in therapy and medicine.

We invited a broad spectrum of people involved in the ongoing renaissance - scientists, doctors, researchers, authors, facilitators, and users - to encourage a better understanding of these controversial substances. Some of these key players in the field include Amanda Fielding, Dr Rosalind Watts, Darren Springer, Michelle Baker Jones, Dr Ben Sessa and Dr Chris Timmermann as they lead the psychedelic renaissance forward.



Our documentary captures the psychedelic renaissance from its early stages, to the exponential growth in the field we see today. We document the journeys of grassroots organizations such as Decriminalize Denver (now SPORE) and various psychedelic societies globally, as they planted the seeds for change at the beginning of last decade and follow the progress of revival of psychedelic research in small medical departments to the establishment of psychedelic research centers and institutes which continue to propel the ongoing revolution in mental health care and psychiatry. 

Furthermore, as the psychedelic field begins to attract more media attention and investors begin to take interest, we believe it is important to have nuanced conversations around the sensationalization of psychedelics and the perils of unregulated psychedelic capitalism. As such, we have presented balanced, non-bias dialogue from well-informed figures, to portray the potential harms, as well the positives, that could emerge from psychedelic mainstreaming. 


THE FILM FEATURE 

Our film captures all relevant and current aspects of the field of psychedelics, including but not limited to; medical and clinical research, neuroscience, neuropsychology, clinical psychology and psychotherapy, spirituality, philosophy, recreation, art, music and the emergence of new interest from investors. The feature delves into global, historical and traditional psychedelic use, its socio-cultural value, its value in environmental justice movements, and finally, its potential for healing, treating and alleviating a vast number of conditions that plague modern society, including depression, PTSD and substance-use disorder, among many others. 



Since the field of psychedelics is expanding at a dizzying pace, we believe it is important to keep up with the rapid changes. Therefore, we will also focus on covering all the new trends in the field, such as the many psychedelic training programs and educational courses offered online, and at newly established psychedelic centers and institutes. 

As more and more investors are also becoming interested in psychedelic venture capital and as psychedelic biotech companies begin to list their stocks on the market, it is important that we stay informed as a community. As such, we aim to  ensure that we and others in the space are held accountable to keeping the space inclusive and equitable, and to ensure neutral well-informed education. 



Additionally, as the conversation and rush around patenting is becoming louder, we will keep the community up to date as the corporate world merges with psychedelics to make sure that the conversation around ethics is not sidelined. Psychedelics are becoming increasingly popular on the news, and there are caveats to be wary of such as the sensationalization of these substances as “cure alls.” It is our goal to challenge the stigma and myths around psychedelics by discussing their benefits while remaining pragmatic and responsible by disclosing the potential risks and harms that are often dismissed in the excitement and enthusiasm of the psychedelic renaissance.

We feel it is vital to present a wide diversity of perspectives within the psychedelic movement. We understand that psychedelics and plant medicines are not a magic cure or a panacea and that they may not serve everyone. We will not shy away from revealing and exploring the shadow-side of psychedelic use and we intend to do our best to present an unbiased account of the history, current reality, and future trajectories of the movement through multiple perspectives including BIPOC and LGBTQI2S+ individuals.



ADDITIONAL CONTENT

We maximise our impact by producing additional educational and harm reduction content. Unused footage will be developed into short online and social media videos, including a subsequent online series that focuses on women in the field of psychedelic science, an area we deem highly important in attempting to reconcile gender imbalance which has traditionally defined the psychedelic field.

We continuously create educational social media content. We cater to a diverse audience by making our educational material free and accessible to all. We have a following of 4K on Facebook, 2K on IG and 840 followers on Twitter, which is continuously growing. We post articles, news and harm reduction content regularly. Our team creates highly relevant blogs and articles about the current issues and developments surrounding the field of psychedelics, covering important cultural, scientific and educational topics.

We publish a monthly newsletter with updates about the project, educational content and promotion of educational and harm reduction events.  Our newsletter also covers the latest news in the psychedelic field, from the most recent progressions in global drug policy reform to ground-breaking scientific research. We grew our newsletter subscribers list from 0 to 1.5K in 6 months and are confident in our ability to continue growing and spreading our reach.



THE MISSION



Mental health has been a defining issue of our generation, with approximately one in every four people suffering from ‘mental illness’. In 2017, The World Health Organization (WHO) began a campaign to prioritize global mental health, stating:   

“Behavioral health disorders are on the trajectory to surpass all other diseases as a major cause of disability by 2020. Each year, approximately $2.5 trillion is lost in the global economy to mental illness; this number is expected to increase to $6 trillion in a little over a decade.”

Now in 2021, as we are in the midst of a global pandemic, the need to address the growing  mental health crisis has become more important than ever.

We de-stigmatize psychedelic use by presenting personal and professional accounts of its  benefits from a wide array of individuals. We make a clear call for responsible and therapeutic psychedelic use, for personal growth and collective healing, including traditional, indigenous uses of plant medicines and substances. As psychedelics begin to enter the mainstream, we also make a call for accountability and equity as the psychedelic renaissance moves forward.

We hope the evidence provided in the documentary will significantly change the public opinion on psychedelics. In turn, this shift in public opinion should put pressure on governments to adjust outdated drug laws and to open their minds to the idea of psychedelics for therapeutic use. 


WHAT WE NEED & WHAT WE ARE GRACIOUSLY ASKING FOR 


We believe crowdfunding is ideal because the nature of our project makes it particularly challenging to find appropriate funding avenues. Due to the controversial nature of psychedelic substances, we simply are not eligible for many specific film grants. We have considered working with investors, however, we believe doing so will prevent us from prioritizing accessibility over profit.


This is a project made for the benefit of the community, as such, we would love to invite the public to participate in creating this film.


DEVELOPMENT
- Producing Staff $6875
- Consultants $7500


POSTPRODUCTION BASICS
Postproduction staff: Editor and Director/Producer $8750
Processes: Colour grading, titling, format conversions $2500
Sound Design $3750
Visual Effects $2500

POSTPRODUCTION EXTRAS
Animation $9875

MARKETING AND REACH OUT
Website, Newsletter, Social Media $5862.50

CONTINGENCY
Contingency 5% $2380.63

MAPS FISCAL FEE
MAPS Fiscal Fee $2499.66

TOTAL EXPENSE $52492.79


PROJECT STATUS & DETAILS OF FUTURE PRODUCTION COSTS >>>

We currently have 80% of the production finished - all our filming has been completed and we have begun editing. 

What we need is funds to complete our post-production, which includes editing, animations and a bespoke soundtrack. 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to postpone fundraising because of the financial hardship brought on to many. However, with the mental health crisis worsening by the pandemic, the importance of finishing and releasing our documentary has become more pertinent than ever.

We seek funding to produce a high quality film, which will appeal to a wide audience, including those who have never considered psychedelic substances as a legitimate tool for healing and growth. 

Any form of financial support will help us move the project forward. 

- $20K will allow us to pay for editing and basic sound mix
- $35K will allow us to add a bespoke sound design and visual effects
- $50K will allow us to add compelling animation and pay for necessary admin costs


OUR CURRENT FINANCIAL SITUATION >>>

We are a very small team of volunteers with very limited time. We all have to support ourselves and earn money to survive, while we volunteer our time for what we feel is a very worthwhile venture. We want to commit to paying $150 per day to the crew to cover our basic needs and allow us to focus our attention on completing this project, as well as hiring new crew members to support us. 

FUNDS RAISED & SPENT TO DATE >>> 

Incoming >>>

Crowdfunding 
$5,738.19

Major Donors 
$5,377.50

Events 
$1,752.50
TOTAL: $12,868.19


Outgoing >>>
Development
$437.50

Salaries

$2,725

Production expenses (incl. kit)
$4,712.50

Travel & Accommodation
$4,543.75

Marketing
$312.50
TOTAL: $12,731.25


ACCESSIBLE DISTRIBUTION + PUBLIC SCREENINGS + FUTURE PLANS FOR RELEASE

Our intention is to release ‘The Psychedelic Renaissance’, with free, public screenings set for mid 2022. We have been invited to screen at psychedelic conferences around the world, as well as educational institutions such as Oxford University and Newcastle University. After initial screenings, the film will be available for free online and promoted by our community partners such as MAPS, Chacruna, The Beckley Foundation, and psychedelic societies around the world, as well as other associated institutions and brands with interest in psychedelics. 

In August 2019, we screened a work-in-progress cut of the film at the 2019 Breaking Convention conference in London, UK. The auditorium was packed with people who received the film enthusiastically and approached us to express their support and gratitude. 


THE IMPACT

Our documentary, and additional digital content, challenges the stigma around psychedelic substances, while educating the public about the potential personal and collective benefits of these extraordinary allies. We feel strongly that if the public is made aware of the potential of psychedelic and plant medicines for therapeutic use, that the demand will facilitate a necessary shift in out-dated drug laws. These laws restrict scientific development, threaten cognitive liberties, and disproportionately criminalize marginalized people in many regions of the world. 

Our film allows viewers to watch as the field of psychedelics unfolds and research develops. We have followed some of the leading change makers in the field in their journey through the psychedelic renaissance. We documented Dr Rosalind Watts and her team’s work on Imperial College London’s psilocybin for depression study, documenting the progress from the start to completion of the study, to uncover the current challenges and future needs in psychedelic research. Doing so allows us to communicate with the public about the development of research as it is in motion and the issues that arise as we progress with legitimizing psychedelics in science. 

We have followed many other important individuals such as Dr Ben Sessa and his study on MDMA for PTSD and as he expanded his research to treat alcoholism with psychedelics. We shed light to the fascinating work that Dr Chris Timmermann has done using DMT to further our ability to study consciousness. Doing so helps further legitimize psychedelics’ place in modern science and medicine. 

Our film also addresses the importance of using psychedelics outside of the clinical setting, such as in strengthening our relationship to our community and our ecology. We explore the role of psychedelics in connecting us to each other and nature, which in turn creates a more community-focused and environmentally-conscious future.

We push for drug policy reform while staying up to date with the nuances that arise with the exponential growth of psychedelic science and ensure the importance of discussing diversity in research and accessibility to these medicines. We hold the community responsible, as new stakeholders such as investors emerge, to safeguard equity in the community. 

Even after the release of our film we will continue to provide the psychedelic space with educational material on harm reduction, equitable inclusion and sensible drug policy through our digital platforms. 


CONTRIBUTORS

We interviewed some of the leading scientists and clinicians that have contributed to discoveries in psychedelic science and we interweave these interviews with those whose lives were transformed through psychedelics.

Amanda Feilding (The Beckley Foundation)
Arno Adelaars (Writer, Ayahuasca expert)
Ashleigh Murphy-Beiner (Psilodep 2 Imperial College London, Breaking Convention)
Dr Ben Sessa (Imperial College London)
Camille Barton (Artist, diversity consultant, researcher of somatic social justice and a drug policy reform consultant)
Dr Christopher Timmermann (Imperial College London)
Darren Springer (Mycologist)
David Bronner (CEO Dr Bronner's)
Dennis McKenna (Heffter Research Institute & McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy)
Friedericke Meckel (Psychedelic Therapist)
Gino Chakaruna (Ayahuasca Shaman)
Ismail Lourido Ali (Policy & Advocacy Counsel MAPS)
Jakobien Van der Weijden (Microdosing.nl)
Julian Vayne (Breaking Convention, Psychedelic Museum)
Kevin Matthews (Decriminalize Denver, SPORE)
Marta Kaczmarczyk (The Psychedelic Society of the Netherlands, Synthesis)
Michelle Baker-Jones (Psilodep 2 Imperial College London)
Dr Monnica Williams (Psychedelic Therapist)
Natalie Ginsberg (Director of Policy & Advocacy MAPS)
Nikki Wyrd (Breaking Convention, Psychedelic Press)
Dr Rosalind Watts (Psilodep 2 at Imperial College London, Synthesis)
Sam Gandy (Ecology and Psychedelics Researcher)
Sara Reed (Therapist for a phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trial)
Sharon Jarvis (Artist, painter)

and more...


SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS


THE CREATORS

We are an intersectional collective of filmmakers, content creators, psychologists, neuroscientists and mental health professionals,  advocating for the responsible and intentional use of psychedelic substances and plant medicines for personal and collective healing. 

Anya Oleksiuk >>> Director//Producer//Director of Photography


Anya is a documentary filmmaker, host and educator. She is a Co-Director of the Psychede lic Society UK, leading on video production, harm reduction and education about psychedelics. She curates and hosts talks and panel discussions for the Psychedelic Society and for Anthropos Festival. She is also associated with the Psychedelic Society of the Netherlands and is a consultant for the Polish Psychedelic Society (Polskie Towarzystwo Psychodeliczne). Anya is a founder and director of Triptika Studios, which is a collective of independent filmmakers with interests in health, science, innovative solutions, mental health, drug advocacy, social and racial justice and environment-friendly lifestyles. Her clients include Maudsley psychedelic Research Team at King’s College London, Psychedelic.Support and The Hemp Trading Company. 


Haya Huasca >>> Co-Producer//Co-director


Haya is an enthusiastic advocate of psychedelic literacy who intends to help catalyse the psychedelic movement globally. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and wrote a senior thesis titled “Ask Your Doctor If Psychedelics Are Right For You: A Closer Look At The Clinical Uses Of Psychedelics.” Since obtaining her degree in psychology she has branched out to work in different fields ranging from NGOs to film sets. She was formerly involved with community development at The Third Wave, and is an active member of the French Psychedelic Society. Haya is interested in incorporating MDMA assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of complex post traumatic stress disorder (cPTSD) and complex personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder (BPD). In the future, Haya has plans to pursue a PhD in psychology to further develop the skills needed in providing psychedelic assisted psychotherapy and is on a mission to open a psychedelic research center and clinic in the Middle East.


Camille Barton – Choreographer & Co-director



Camille is an artist, diversity consultant, researcher of somatic social justice and a drug policy reform consultant. She has written for the MAPS Bulletin and currently works as an advisory board member for the MAPS public benefit corporation to ensure that MDMA assisted Psychotherapy will be accessible to marginalised communities. She brings her passion for social change to life through a variety of art mediums, including dance, film and clowning.


Her art practice fuses improvisation, ritual and Afrofuturism to weave new realities inspired by the creativity of the African Diaspora. In June 2018, Camille’s film Space is the Place was shown at Sheffield Doc Fest, and in August she curated The SanQtuary, an intersectional safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community at Shambala Festival. In late 2018, Camille co-produced RE:GENERATE an arts festival on the intersections of drug policy, racial justice and liberation.


Mareesa Stertz - Co-director & Camera



Mareesa Stertz is a filmmaker, community organizer, and KRI certified Kundalini Yoga teacher. She is the producer and host of the documentary series, The Healing Powers (of Psychedelics and Other Mindful Practices), currently streaming on Gaia TV. She is also one of the founders of Lucid News - a news platform that covers the growing integration of psychedelics into society and their broad implications for human wellness. Mareesa is the founder of The Psychedelic Leadership Summits, a series of workshops focused on building relationships within the community and creating space for important conversations. Mareesa also programs events at The Aware Project, a Los Angeles Psychedelic Society. She is passionate about finding solutions to systemic problems, and her work is heavily informed by her own journey of healing, which has taken her all around the world, filming with the curanderos of Peru to the holy men of India. She has a BA in Cinema at San Francisco State University, and her documentaries have been featured by Gaia TV, Viceland, Indigenous Films, Merry Jane, and Participant. Her film on the spiritual intentional community Damanhur will be released mid 2020, and she is currently in development on a one-woman play that celebrates the healing journey.


Ana Sabolic >>> Camera


Ana Sabolić is a visual artist and filmmaker working in the field of independent film production and contemporary visual art. She graduated with a MA in Art in 2015 focused on graphics and video art. Interested in psychogeography, Ana explores problems through moving images and art workshops. Many of her workshops were founded and supported by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and shown as solo exhibitions in galleries. It is an on-going project about exploring the identity of space and the effects of the geographical environment on the emotions and behaviour of individuals. In the context of film and video production, she works on experimental and documentary projects which often go beyond the boundaries of the traditional state of a movie in cinemas and integrates into modern gallery spaces. Currently, she is an MA Film Production student at London School of Film, Media, and Design at the University of West London focused mostly on experimental and documentary film. She is working as a freelance Art Director and Editor and is a Co-director of Triptika Studios.


Mercedes CA Grant >>>  Associate Producer


Mercedes CA Grant is a witch, writer, activist, community organizer, trauma & justice informed yoga teacher, student astrologer and psychonaut, currently practicing on the island of the T’oq qaymexʷ in the traditional territory of the Klahoose, Tla'Amin, and Homalco First Nations, on Turtle Island, with roots in Ireland, Scotland and England. She is dedicated to creating and supporting dynamic, inclusive, educational spaces and opportunities that encourage healing and paradigm-shifting dialogue, while building safe(r), just, compassionate and supportive communities both online, and in-real-life. She holds 500+ hours in traditional yogic education, with a focus on substance abuse recovery and trauma recovery through a disability justice lens. Mercedes has contributed to the psychedelic and plant medicine community since 2015, providing support to organizations including MAPS Canada, the Spirit Plant Medicine Conference, Therapsil, The Psychedelic Society UK, The Psychedelic Renaissance documentary, and the 2018 and 2020 Psychedelic Psychotherapy Forum. She is currently studying astrology, building a tiny house in the woods, resting, and weaving the threads of her experience and education to be able to offer psychedelic and plant medicine relationship-building and integration support, while holding space in her community for resilience building and mutual aid amidst climate and ecological collapse.


Martha Allitt - Social Content Producer, Community Manager and Event Facilitator


Martha works for the UK Psychedelic Society where she liaises with a host of different drug policy reform groups and medical patients negatively impacted by the war on drugs. Working with such groups and with a background in Neuroscience providing her a scientific and evidence-based focus, Martha is motivated to push better access of in-need patients to medical cannabis and other scheduled plant-based medicines. As a content curator for the Psychedelic Renaissance, her writing intends to educate the wider public about various scientific and cultural issues surrounding cannabis and other psychedelics. Martha has previously worked in public engagement, with a passion to bridge the gap between medical research and knowledge of patients being affected by such research. Concerned with spreading harm-reduction education around different drugs, Martha is a proud volunteer for Psycare UK.


Weronika Sikorska - Editor


A skilled video producer and editor with years of experience creating and editing both scripted and unscripted high-quality content for private clients, TV broadcasts, production companies  and cybersecurity pioneers. Editor-in-chief and producer for the gaming YouTube channel 'NoodleShot'.

Support Team
Ashwin Bolar - Digital Comms Lead
Matt Reid - Web Design & Technical Support
Leily Kassai - Content Creator
Shaima - Content Creator


Spelt Productions operates a charitable project fiscally sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Inc. (MAPS), (Federal TX ID: 59-2751953), a Section 501(c)3 public charity. In accordance with federal tax requirements, MAPS exercises discretion and control over all project funds. Please make your donations for the purposes of the project directly to MAPS.

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    • $10 
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Fundraising team: The Psychedelic Renaissance (2)

Anya Oleksiuk 
Organizer
Raised $2,719 from 29 donations
San Jose, CA
MAPS 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Ashwin Bolar 
Team member
Raised $10 from 1 donation