EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: MARK ACHBAR
Whether following Noam Chomsky around the world, chronicling a sex change, or interviewing Fortune 500 CEOs, for three decades Mark Achbar's filmmaking passion has been with the players and the politics in the struggle for human rights and social change. His penchant for quirky visuals and intelligent humour combine to make complex ideas compelling and entertaining. Achbar is one of a new wave of non-fiction feature filmmakers reaching large international audiences through mainstream theatres, TV, DVD, and the internet.
With Peter Wintonick, Achbar co-directed and co-produced MANUFACTURING CONSENT: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992), which became Canada's all-time, top-grossing feature documentary and won 22 awards and honours. Achbar’s companion book to the film hit the national best-seller list in Canada. Achbar collaborated with editor Jennifer Abbott to create TWO BRIDES AND A SCALPEL: Diary of a Lesbian Marriage (1999), a low-budget video diary by the couple known as Canada's first legally married lesbians. This true story of “boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy becomes girl” received festival invitations from around the globe and was broadcast in Canada. It won Best Documentary in the Milan International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
In 1997, Achbar initiated a project titled THE CORPORATION with author and University of British Columbia law professor Joel Bakan. Bakan wrote the film and book, while Achbar directed, produced and executive-produced the film. Jennifer Abbott joined the team as editor and co-director in 2000.
THE CORPORATION took over MANUFACTURING CONSENT’s status as Canada’s all-time top grossing feature documentary, and won 26 awards, 10 of them audience awards, including Sundance. It was released theatrically in more than 20 countries, grossed over six million dollars at the box office, and sold over 200,000 DVDs. More than a million people have downloaded the film via Youtube, bittorrent, and other P2P networks. It is used in thousands of high school and university courses, by community and activist groups, and by Fortune 500 corporations.
Due to the Canadian box office success of The Corporation, Achbar’s company, BIG PICTURE MEDIA CORPORATION received “performance envelopes” in 2006 and 2007 totalling $2.4 million dollars from Telefilm Canada. This was the first such award in Canada for the box office performance of a documentary. With these funds, set aside for the exclusive use of the company, Achbar has helped finance ten feature documentaries.
Three more films were completed in 2009: Kevin McMahon’s WATERLIFE (the demise of the Great Lakes) winner of the Special Jury Prize for Best Documentary, Hot Docs; Denis Delestrac's PAX AMERICANA and the Weaponization Of Space; and Fredrick Gerten’s BANANAS (Nicaraguan banana workers sue Dole for their exposure to toxic pesticides. Dole subsequently sued the filmmaker and tried to prevent the film from being shown, but later dropped the suit).
With Martin Scorsese and Betsy Carson, Achbar is Executive Producer on Mathieu Roy’s and Harold Crooks’ A SHORT HISTORY OF PROGRESS (the escalating price of progress) inspired by Ronald Wright’s bestseller of the same name, which will be completed and released in 2010. Four other films are in development: A PERFECT PILL: From Neurons to Nirvana (the revival of medical research into the usefulness of psychedelic drugs), MODERN MADNESS (radical non-pharmaceutical treatments for mental illness and mad people’s rights), I, FEMBOT (a feminist critique of the future of robotics), and SEX, BREATH, AND DEATH (the search for transcendence).
In addition to his envelope projects, with Si Litvinoff (A Clockwork Orange, The Man Who Fell to Earth), Achbar is also Executive Producer on Sam Bozzo’s BLUE GOLD: WORLD WATER WARS based on the book by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke, “Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft Of The World’s Water”. The film premiered at the 2008 Vancouver International Film Festival, won the Audience Award for Most Popular Environmental Film, and was first runner-up for the Audience Award for Most Popular Documentary of the festival which screened a total of 100 documentaries. It has since garnered five more awards and is being distributed worldwide on television and DVD.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: BETSY CARSON
Betsy is an award-winning producer/ EP/ director with over 20 years experience in documentary film and television. Recently released films include
• Waking the Green Tiger (producer) - dir: Gary Marcuse- about the rise of an environmental movement in China
• Surviving Progress, (exec producer) - dir: Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks- based on Ronald Wright’s book A Short History of Progress
• War in the Mind - (producer) - dir: Judy Jackson- about post traumatic stress in the military and military suicide.
Over the last four years she has also executive produced with Mark Achbar (The Corporation) three theatrical feature documentaries: Fierce Light (dir: Velcrow Ripper) , Pax Americana (dir: Denis Delestrac) and Waterlife (dir: Kevin McMahon)and contributed to the development of six additional feature docs in collaboration with Mr. Achbar.
She has produced the feature docs of Nettie Wild (FIX: The Story of an Addicted City, A Place Called Chiapas, Blockade, Bevel Up), and has also worked with filmmakers Gary Marcuse (The Mind of a Child, Nuclear Dynamite, Arktika) and Hugh Brody (The Meaning of Life, Time Immemorial).. The films she has collaborated on have won over 50 national and international awards and honours including Genie and Gemini awards, American Film Institute, Berlin, Hot Docs and IDA awards, Chris, Prism, VIFF and others.
Betsy was a Vice Chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada for six years, leaving the Board of Directors in the fall of 2010, and continues to serve on DOC advocacy committees. She came to documentary film after a long career as a professional ballet dancer from 1973-89, when she danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Grand Ballets Canadiens and Judith Marcuse’s Repertory Dance Theatre.
FULL CREDIT LIST — FROM NEURONS TO NIRVANA: THE GREAT MEDICINES
108 Minutes — Moksha Version — blu-ray & DVD
A Film By Oliver Hockenhull
Executive Producer : Jon Schultz
Executive Producer : Big Picture Media Corp.
Mark Achbar & Betsy Carson
Original Soundtrack Composer: Lisa Walker
Shakuhachi, Vocals: Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos
Bass: Kirk Watson
Vocals : Angela Tongue
“Liquid Reality” Track
Shamanic Medicine Songs:
C. & Florcita (Heather)
Ambient Track /
Remembering What Was Forgotten: Mendel Kaelen
Sound Design / Mix: Dennis Burke
Narration Voice: Lesley Ewen
Animation/Drawings: Colleen Stevenson
Daniel Conrad & Rheanna Toy
Paulina Nelega, Amanda Feilding & The Beckley Foundation, Rick Doblin & The Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies, Paul Haden, Sarah Butterfield, Kathleen Harrison, Dennis Mckenna, Julie Holland, Bluelight.Ru, Richard Yensen, The Oprah Magazine (Jessica Winter), C. & Florcita (Heather), Patrick, J. & D., Jeremy Narby, Dr. Gábor Máté, Gillian Maxwell, Joshua Mojeiko, Sebastians Ghost, Steve Beyer, Anja Saunders, All The Interviewees, Siobhan Flanagan, Intern Bernie Yao, Richard Meech, Gaia Media, Promega Corporation & Btc Institute, Winston Hockenhull, Yvette Hockenhull, Maksim Bentsianov, Jeff Carter.
Super-8 Beckley Park Sequence: Amanda Feilding By Permission.
Public Domain Material & Fair Use Notice: Such Material Is Made Available For Educational Purposes Only. This Constitutes A 'Fair Use' Of Any Such Copyrighted Material As Provided For In Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 Of The U.S. Copyright Law.
Public Domain Material In Use: “Ayahuasca” Narration: William S. Burroughs
“Alice In Wonderland": W. W. Young (1915)
“Alice In Wonderland": Cecil Hepworth (1903)
“Lsd Documentary Dr. Sidney Cohen”: Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital (1956)
“Columbia Revolt": Kit Parker Films (1969)
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