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Fantastic Fungi, directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical Earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet. Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offer us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges.
Imagine an organism that feeds you, heals you, reveals secrets of the universe and could help save the planet. Fantastic Fungi is a revelatory time-lapse journey about the magical, mysterious and medicinal world of fungi and their power to heal, sustain and contribute to the regeneration of life on Earth that began 3.5 billion years ago. You’ll see it through the eyes of mycologists, discussing the unlimited potential of fungi in the fields of food, medicine, expanding consciousness, bioremediation, neurogenesis and treating end-of-life anxiety. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The screening will be followed by a mycological panel featuring ecologist and environmental photographer Alison Pouliot, mycologist Caine Barlow, ecologist Sapphire McMullan-Fisher, founder of Mycelium Made, Amanda Morglund, and President of PRISM, Vice President of EGA, research fellow in Medicinal Chemistry at Monash University, and co-lead investigator of the upcoming Melbourne psilocybin trials at St Vincent's Hospital, Dr Martin Williams. The mycological panel will be facilitated by the coordinator of Fungimap, Cameron Durnsford.
This event supports the work of Fungimap, a not for profit, citizen-science organisation dedicated to furthering the conservation and knowledge of Australian fungi. Please consider adding a donation when purchasing tickets. Fungimap and Entheogenesis Australis are small charity organisations and rely on the generosity of people who value their work, so your support is greatly appreciated.
More information about the panel guests is listed below.
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Dr Alison Pouliot is an ecologist, environmental photographer and honorary fellow at the Australian National University. Her research spans both northern and southern hemispheres where she is actively involved in fungal conservation and ethnomycology, conducting over 400 fungus workshops and forays over the last two decades.
Alison’s recent book, The Allure of Fungi (CSIRO Publishing) explores the natural and cultural curiosities of the fungal realm. Her new book (co-authored with mycologist Tom May) is the first field guide to edible fungi in Australia will be published later this year. More information is available at www.alisonpouliot.com
Martin Williams, PhD is a research fellow in Medicinal Chemistry at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne. He is founding & current President of the DGR-registered health-promotion charity, Psychedelic Research in Science & Medicine (PRISM), founding & current Vice-President of the botanical/education charity, Entheogenesis Australis (EGA), Scientific Officer with the newly established charity, Mind Medicine Australia, and co-lead investigator of the upcoming psilocybin trials at St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne.
Through PRISM, Martin and colleagues have been advocating since 2011 for mental health research using psychedelic compounds in Australia, and in doing so, have established connections with researchers in the USA, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In the course of planning and seeking approvals for two clinical trials, one of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD and the other of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of anxiety and depression associated with terminal illness, Martin has become familiar with the Australian regulatory and research governance landscape.
Martin and the Palliative Care team at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, have recently achieved the requisite Human Research Ethics and state & federal government approvals for their proposed Phase 2 psilocybin trial, due to start later in 2019. He is currently working with another interdisciplinary research group on plans for a clinical trial of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant depression.
Sapphire is an ecologist who has a special interest in the conservation of biodiversity, particularly the macrofungi and mosses.
She has been active with Australian scientific groups like the Australian Network for Plant Conservation, Australian Bryophyte Workshops, Education Subcommittee of the Australasian Mycological Society, and numerous community groups including many fungi groups, field naturalist clubs and Landcare groups. She is involved in Greening Australia’s Habitat Conservation and Management Course and the new Victorian Nature Stewards program. Read more about her research profile in Research Gate.
Having lived in four states and travelled across Australia’s landscapes she has been involved in many of the fungal community groups over the years. She particularly enjoys getting out into the bush to discover fungal treasures as often as she can.
Gold Tufts (Cyptotrama asprata, left) is Sapphire’s favourite fungus. It is delightful from the baby cushion tufts to the mushrooms with their pure white gills (Paul Vallier).
Caine Barlow is a fungi educator who has been cultivating and studying fungi for 13 years. In 2019 he completed a Master's degree where his research project was to predict a preliminary conservation status for many Australian fungi.
As a fungi educator, he is passionate about encouraging people to see fungi in a new light by demonstrating how easy they are to grow in kitchen and garden environments. He likes to inspire a sense of creativity in the cloning and propagation of mycelium, experimentation with different substrates, and how to hack together equipment.
Through exploring the forests of Far South Tasmania, Caine's interest in fungi evolved from foraging to learning how to culture native species for conservation, and on to cultivating a variety of culinary and medicinal species. Then to further studies into mycorrhizal fungi, mycoremediation, and mycorestoration.
When not growing fungi, Caine volunteers his time with MYCOmmunity applied mycology, and Fungimap. He is also a regular contributor, “trusted identifier” and administrator on a variety of fungi oriented website forums and facebook groups.
Caine has an Instagram account "Guerrilla Mycology” where he blogs about his cultivation techniques and the enthnomycology of fungi he finds in the field.
(Photo credit: Bob Hutchison)
Amanda Morglund is the founder of Mycelium Made, who creates biodegradable, zero waste loungewear using mushrooms. This process of Mycotailoring weaves together discarded textiles into insulating garment structures.
Amanda is a passionate Cultivator of Circular Design, Education and Community. Collaborating with Fungi offers an opportunity to tackle some of the world’s most challenging ecosystem disruptors and restore health to damaged environments.
(Photo credit: Daniel Mallia)
Entheogenesis Australis is a charitable, educational organisation established in 2004; we provide opportunities for critical thinking and knowledge sharing on ethnobotanical plants, fungi, nature and sustainability.
Through our conferences and workshops, we aim to celebrate the culture, art, politics and community around medicine plants in the hope to better wellbeing for humankind and the planet.