Descending the Mountain

‘Descending the Mountain’ takes us on a journey of mystical revelations, experienced through meditation and psilocybin.

To understand how psychedelics reveal the nature of consciousness, psychiatrist Franz and zen monk Vanja guide experienced meditators – who have never used psychedelics before – through a ground-breaking scientific experiment on the majestic Swiss Mount Rigi.

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.

. . .
Patricia Pisters
Prof Media and film studies University Amsterdam

. . .
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.”
. . .

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

Synopsis & trailer

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. 

On the last day of a 5-day retreat, a group of zen monks – who have never used psychedelics before  –  are given psilocybin, 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, may lift the controversy that has clouded the realm of psychedelics for far too long. 

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Where to see

As soon as we have details about the first screening of this movie, you will find on this page info about Date & time and location.

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We are looking forward to welcome you!

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….

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The Team

Team photo, from left to right:

Fokke van Saane – Sound
Jean Counet – Camera
Vanja Palmers – Zen master
Franz Vollenweider – Psychiatrist and Neuroscientist
Maartje Nevejan – director movie
Annette Badenhorst – co producer and production Switzerland


Vanja Palmers
Franz Vollenweider
Sister Theresia Raberger
Dr. Peter Gasser
Auréle Masson Gianoli – little Fran
Magnus Huser – little Vanja

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