Mycelium can heal heal you, it can feed you, it can clean up a toxic oil spill and it can even shift your consciousness and play a crucial role in saving the planet...
Although our 22nd Ebertfest Film Festival had to be cancelled last week because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are fortunate to be able to join a virtual equivalent of it Tuesday, April 21st (here) in a special celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with acclaimed director Louie Schwartzberg's documentary "Fantastic Fungi." This event is organized in conjunction with film distributor Area 23a. The film was on the roster of our Ebertfest line-up. Stephen Apkon and Marcina Hale (who won the first Ebert Humanitarian Award for their film "Disturbing The Peace") are executive producers of this astonishing and beautifully lensed film illustrating how mushrooms and mycelium can provide natural remedies for so many of our ills.
In his enthusiastic review, our Assistant Editor Matt Fagerholm hailed the film as "one of the year’s most mind-blowing, soul-cleansing and yes, immensely entertaining triumphs...Not only has the world rarely seemed more richly alive than it does here, it has never appeared more equipped at providing solutions to our modern crises, if only we bothered to listen."
This Tuesday, April 21st, a full slate of virtual panels in honor of Earth Day will take place all day on the film's official site where you can also rent the movie for $4.99. The live streamed conversations will enable researchers, educators and solutionaries such as Paul Stamets, Louie Schwartzberg, Suzanne Simard, Jason Silva and many others to discuss our planet’s most pressing environmental and global challenges. You can rent the film here, and then register to watch the virtual panels and find the full info on the Earth Day festivities here. This is a global event that brings people together to explore our interconnectedness at a time when we are mandated to stay physically apart.
My heart goes out to all who have been personally touched by the tragedy of an illness or death caused by COVID-19. And I salute the many heroes who continue to provide us service at peril to themselves, such as first responders, healthcare workers, grocery store and pharmacy clerks, farm workers, long distance drivers, delivery personnel, postal service workers and all who help to keep us going during this period of Quarantine. Festival Director Nate Kohn, Festival Coordinator Andy Hall and I have been e-meeting to come up with programs of interest to keep our film festival community together during this time of crisis. We have a few ideas in the hopper, including a Zoom Meet-up, but we are also open to hearing your suggestions. You may write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until then, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow at the movies for Fungi Day.