Descending the Mountain

Feature Documentary Film, 78 minutes
Subtitels: English, French, Spanish, Dutch and German
Location: Switzerland
Production: Switzerland/the Netherlands
World premiere: Fall 2021

This film takes you on a journey of mystical revelations through magic mushrooms and meditations.
In ‘Descending the Mountain’ psychiatrist Franz Vollenweider and Zen master Vanja Palmers create a ground-breaking scientific experiment located on the majestic Mount Rigi in Switzerland.
The film shows if and how, when united, psilocybin and meditation might expand our understanding of the nature of consciousness.

Leaving the iconic visuals of the 60’s behind, ‘Descending the Mountain’ uses animation, sound, and A.I. to create a new visual language for the transcendent experience of oneness with nature.

Descending the Mountain is exemplary for the current psychedelic renaissance. In the hallucinating setting of the Swiss mountains and the serenity of a monastery surrounded by nature, Maartje Nevejan takes us on an audio-visual journey through expanded consciousness. As in her previous work ‘Are You There?’ she uses various subtle techniques to document the enhanced reality of inner experiences. Visually surprising and with a mesmerizing sound track this film literally opens doors of perception akin to the effects of psychedelics.”

Patricia Pisters
Prof Media and film studies University Amsterdam


In the Media

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Synopsis & trailer

What happens when you administer psilocybin to experienced zen meditators? 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. 

These substances are not for the sick only, they belong in the hands of meditation”
Albert Hofmann

Exactly fifty years after the ban on psychedelics a group of Zen meditators – who have never used any psychedelic substances before  –  are given psilocybin on the last day of a 5-day retreat. Half the 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, may lift the controversy that has clouded the realm of psychedelics for far too long. 

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Where to see

DTM opened in cinema’s in the Netherlands in november 2021.

Streaming platforms





Film Festivals

July 20-27 2023
BOOM Festival, Portugal

May 31 – 4 June 4, 2023
Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival, VOD

January 11-21, 2023
Bangalow Film Festival, Australia

Distribution Canada is set by January 2023 by Levelfilm

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