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.

Film Festivals

April 28 – May 3, 2022
Academia Film Olomouc, International Festival of Science Documentary Films Czech Republic

May 13 – 22, 2022
Millennium Docs Against Gravity film festiva, l Poland
World Economic Forum Davos, Switserland

June first – August 14, 2022
BuddhaFest/Tricycle Online Festival all over USA

June 15-19, 2022
Siberzalz Science and Media awards. Nomination Homeland Earth Award, Halle, Germany

June 29, 2022
Broadcasting on Dutch TV, NPO 2 23:20 hrs

30 June, 2022
Garden Festival Landhuis Oud-Amelisweerd, Utrecht.
Screening: 19.00 hrs

November 2021
InScience Film Festival, Nijmegen The Netherlands

Educational screenings

For educational screenings email MAGNETfilms in Berlin.

We are proud that students, art-schools, clubs, conferences and psychedelic societies, organise worldwide, with our help, special screenings.

May 2, 2022
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine University of Utah USA

June 2022, date tbc
Victoria Association for Psychedelic Studies VAPS, Canada

June 9th 2022
Buddist center, Bern, Switzerland

September 2022 – 5 days
Cultural Society, Deliberate Practice AB, Oslo, Sweden

We had special screenings in Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Mexico, Switzerland.
CITIES: Berlin, Lausanne, Zurich, Paris, Lyon, Mexico City, Rotterdam, Nijmegen, San Francisco, Oslo, Stockholm, Den Haag, Baden, Marseille.

Where to hear

The soundtrack of this film contains music composed by Cosmo Sheldrake and Michel Banabila.

Read more about these amazing artists

Soundtrack for ‘Descending The Mountain’ @ Spotify

Descending the Mountain – EP, Michel Banabila

Wake up calls, Cosmo Sheldrake

The making of

Behind the scenes of Descending the Mountain

“If approached respectfully and under good conditions, these substances have the power to facilitate the real deep spiritual mystical experience”

– ‘Descending the Mountain’

This video shows the making of the wonderfull animations (by Douwe Dijkstra), used in the movie.

Enjoy lots of ‘behind the scenes’ photos….

Continue reading “The making of”