CURRENTLY IN PRODUCTION
Better Living Through Chemistry
An Upcoming Film
and some filmmaking friends
Ann & Sasha Shulgin were/are the God-Parents of the current psychedelic renaissance. This feature documentary film will be an entertaining and comprehensive telling of their story.
We recently returned from a second shoot trip to California, and the post-production phase has begun. Please DONATE NOW to help us make this happen! You’ll get a tax receipt for your donation from MAPS, plus the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve contributed to a film that will make a difference.
In 2001, documentary filmmaker Connie Littlefield began making a film about Ann & Sasha Shulgin. It focused on their chemical romance, and their significant contributions to psychedelic research. Initial filming continued over the course of three trips to psychedelic gatherings in California in 2001, 2002, and 2003; as well as a 2006 journey to Basel, Switzerland, to an international conference celebrating the one hundredth birthday of Dr Albert Hofmann, the discoverer of LSD (and the subject of Connie’s film “Hofmann’s Potion”).
Exclusive footage was obtained for this documentary, including private interviews with Ann & Sasha, members of the Shulgin’s research group, family, friends and other luminaries from the world of psychedelic research and culture. It was not enough footage to cut a feature film from, but it could be a key element of such a work. The footage depicts Sasha at the peak of his intellectual power, and at the dawn of this psychedelic renaissance, which their work has brought about.
There are clips from this footage in the video above. This subject matter was a tough sell at the time, and crowdfunding hadn’t been invented yet. Eventually, when we found no support in the film industry, the project had to be shelved.
Over the past 15 years, psychedelic research has come a long way, and the story seems even more incredible now than when we first began. Theirs was a true synergy: Sasha’s revolutionary approach and scientific expertise established a gold standard in psychedelic research; but it was Ann’s skill with people and language that spread these ideas to the wider culture.
We know we’re preaching to the choir.
This is where you come in: YOU are the choir. You can play a role in making this important film!
This will be a full-scale, feature-length documentary film, and it will premier in late 2019 or early 2020. The clips in the video above are just a micro-dose of what we have in mind.
The next step is to embed ourselves with a scanner and a camera on site at the Farm for a period of a few weeks, in order to fully utilize the incredible access that we have negotiated with The Shulgin Archive. This effort will take time, but it is crucially important both for the film and as a way to further the archiving effort.
Thanks to you, Better Living Through Chemistry will be another cultural coup for psychedelic medicine!
Lights… Camera… Take Action!
Get involved in the making of this film! You can help us bring this story to the world.
- All donations over $50 U.S. will receive a tax deduction for the full amount from MAPS.
- Donations over $1000 U.S. get you a personal invitation to the premiere screening and party.
- Donations of $10,000 U.S will be rewarded with an ‘Associate Producer’ credit on the film.
Time is of the essence! Please get in touch now.
This film will put the story in context, both in popular culture and in the historical record… and you can be a part of that.
Connie Littlefield, Filmmaker
Connie Littlefield wrote and directed “Hofmann’s Potion: The Early Years of LSD.” This film has been credited with changing the way many people think about psychedelic drugs. In 2006, “Damage Done: The Drug War Odyssey,” was called “the smartest documentary yet on a divisive subject” by the Vancouver Sun. 2015’s “The Sunshine Makers,” which she wrote and produced, has been well-received by movie audiences everywhere. Connie has an MFA degree with a major in filmmaking from NSCAD University.
Cinematographer Sue Johnson has over fifteen years of filmmaking experience and an MFA degree in Documentary Media from Ryerson University. Primarily working in documentary cinematography, Johnson has recently completed projects for Al Jazeera International, Nike, and a range of independent documentary directors and producers. She is the recipient of the Innoversity Summit’s Digital Storytellers Prize, from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the National Film Board’s Filmmaker Assistance Program grant. She has screened her work at many venues and festivals and maintains her own production company, Still Silver Productions, in Toronto, ON.
Renée Reeser Zelnick is a Los Angeles-based creative director, concept and storyboard artist specializing in creating visual campaigns and design for film and television studios, video game companies, fashion houses, publishing and all manner of global lifestyle brands. Her recent projects include HBO’s ‘Veep’ and ‘Vice Principals,’ Amazon’s ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ and ‘Good Girls Revolt’ and just about every darn thing on the Travel Channel. Renee is passionate about storytelling and all things mystical and unexplainable, like the art and underground club scenes. She has a BFA in film from Moore College of Art and Design and recently earned an MA from the University of Philosophical Research.
Artist Dana Smith’s studio is in the Mission district of San Francisco. Her photographically based work is best illustrated by the collage book 32 Big Pictures. In 2004 Dana Smith founded a fine arts digital press for the purpose of creating limited edition artwork. The project is called Dana Dana Dana and can be seen in its entirety online. Dana and Mark McCloud created “LSD Barbie” in 1993, and in 2003 started The Blotter Barn, an ongoing project to document Mark’s extensive collection of blotter papers. Dana has also worked extensively in digital video. She has created many short videos and has also worked professionally on many broadcast video projects.
Jacob Nasim is the owner/operator of Chop Chop Editing, a full-service film post-production facility in Oakland, California. Jacob’s editing ‘chops’ span 25 years working on both large and small teams, including direct response advertising, web content, long-format fiction, documentaries, and corporate video. His background encompasses all aspects of filmmaking, including technical, creative, and business. Jacob earned a BA in Film and French Literature through his studies at UCLA and the Sorbonne. He has worked all over North America, including in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Jacob enjoys many kinds of artistic collaborations and feels a deep connection to the story that will become “Better Living Through Chemistry.”
Robert Hickling works from his studio in Oakland, California. For 20 years he’s been lucky enough to design for people in the San Francisco Bay Area and far around the planet, from being a visual designer for Yahoo! Mail to bringing the first multimedia technology to help spread indigenous innovation in Zimbabwe. From the halls of a London creativity company to serving local musicians, actors, theater companies, filmmakers, architects, dance companies, coaches, therapists, and app companies, he’s had the pleasure to engage a wide range of needs. He has a BA in Ecological Design from Stanford and a Masters of Ecological Design from the San Francisco Institute of Architecture. He’s thrilled to be joining the Better Living Through Chemistry team.