Hello again! as you know from our last update I’ve began the production of the rewards in earnest.
The songs of ayahuasca CD is selected, mastered, the liner notes are done, here’s a preview. We’re just waiting for final packaging design.
That leaves the second CD: the crazy mix PODER VERDE!
I’m happy to say that I recently had a long weekend with DJ Akasha where we finished the mix. I couldn’t be happier with the results, there’s nothing else quite like it: cumbia amazónica, jungle sounds, ayahuasca icaros and real life curandero radio ads! It’s insane! Listen to the preview!
That leaves one last reward for me, aka the Spanish team: The Ayahuasca Conversations book.
As you know all the interviews have been selected, now it’s just a matter of editing them out into a book format.
As I have the month ahead of me somewhat free of work I am determined to get it done in the next weeks.
So stay posted! I’ll soon be sharing a preview of the book. Meanwhile, Mark and Robin have been working hard with our editor Simon, towards the next iteration of the film, as well as preparing your other rewards...
Thank you for your endless patience,
All the best,
After the last update a number of you have written to us to tell us your address has changed. This is just a quick note to let everybody know that there is no need to worry. Once the rewards are finished and we are ready to ship we will send an individual email to every one of you to get your current shipping address (we'll also ask things like shirt size, etc. kickstarter actually does this automatically, it's part of the process)
So you can rest assured, we will ask & update everyone's address before we ship anything.
All the best,
Jeronimo here with a much-delayed but information-filled update. In spite of the silence over the summer we have began producing your rewards in earnest. We also took some measures to make our work more efficient. Since I am in Spain and Mark & Robin are in Canada we’ve decided to split the work in two, with yours truly taking up the bulk of the production and while Mark & Robin do the bulk of the delivery. To speed things up even more we’ve decided to send updates separately from now on. This is my update, Mark & Robin will soon follow up with an update of their side of things.
SONGS OF AYAHUASCA CD: I've been working hard on this. After finishing the song selection I realised that it wouldn't fit on a single CD, so instead of one CD everyone will get it'll be a special treat double CD.
A friend who is a sound engineer just finished doing a professional mastering of all the tracks. Meanwhile I've been working hard on the liner notes, which are bilingual (English/Spanish) extensive, full or research and personal stories, and include lyrics in both languages. This has been real the bulk of the work and the reason why it's taken so long. I could have just thrown the tracks together on a shared dropbox folder, but I always conceived these rewards as a work of love, and that's what you are getting, a double CD, proper liner notes and a real journey through the different manifestations of ayahuasca music.
To get an idea of what is in store you can get a preview of the liner notes and songs here:
JUNGLE PRESCRIPTION DVD: On course, Mark & Robin will inform on their update
AYAHUASCA CONVERSATIONS BOOK (Jero/ Mark & Robin prep) - We have been working hard as well on this. Again it was a lot more work that might seem at first, we made transcripts from our footage, but they were word-by-word transcripts, which included timecodes, uh, ahs, repetitions, false starts, crew talk... all the artifacts of real live conversation. Turning that real life messiness into something that can be read on a book has taken, literally, months of editing work.
On the other hand accumulating all of that into a cohesive book and curating all the material has been a great learning process for us, a reminder of how astounding the interviews, encounters and conversations we recorded are. The book is a testament to the contributors who were generous enough to share their stories and time with us and reveals the incredible depth of their work.
We split the transcripts in three over the summer. I focused on the transcripts from the treatment centre in Peru, Takiwasi. Robin focussed on the underground project Gabor Mate ran in Western Canada using ayahuasca to heal a spectrum of addictive and stress related conditions. Mark’s job was wrangling the science and psychology transcripts - for those interested in the nuts and bolts and neurons - of the ayahuasca experience.
The good news is that we are basically done with all that editing, and the resulting conversations are truly fascinating. In the coming weeks I'll be posting some chapters for you to see, while I embark on the technical part of making a printed book, collating all the separate docs into a single file, reviewing everything one last time, exporting it, typesetting it and laying it all out in a book format, with covers, index, etc. Turning a bunch of word docs into a real paper book, which is also more work than it seems. Again, I don't want to do a hack job, and that's why it's taking as long as it's taking.
AYAHUASCA T-SHIRT (jero): Designed and done, ready to print and ship as soon as other rewards are ready. Here we’ve chosen a material and colours that are focused on beauty, sustainability rather than attracting attention - basically shirts we’d want to wear. We’ll be in touch about sizes & options when we’ll do the major shipping.
GABOR MATE SIGNED BOOKS: Have been delivered.
ART PRINTS: Are basically ready, Mark & Robin will expand info in their update
Our apologies for the delays. It is true that things are moving slowly, they’d probably move much faster if we weren't trying to make such a good job. But things are definitely moving and we’re glad to have taken the time to made them good - as they are each offerings to the support you pledged.
The 2nd World Ayahuasca Conference, happening in a week, this is keeping me very busy, (and excited! as it will take me back to the place where it all began for us, 14 years ago) once back from it I expect to begin posting selections from the book for you to preview.
Let us know what you think of the CD work so far.
Thanks again for all your patience
All the best,
Dear longstanding and long-suffering supporters,
We apologize, again, for the long delay.
Thank you for your continued encouragement – letters of support and letters of frustration (cheering us on/wondering what’s up/ hoping for us/offering babysitting/ and straight-up kicking our asses to get it finished.)
We hear you.
We continue, also, with the ongoing conviction that the world still needs this film as much as we need to finish making it. All over the planet, in the years we’ve been at this – progress has been made by great organizations. They are working toward including traditional medicines and marginal compounds being tested with government approval into the treatment of depression, PTSD, personality disorders and helping the terminally ill cope with accepting the next stage of their passing.
In the time - more than a decade - that this has been our labour of love, huge leaps have been made in this field. Sections of the short version of our film have been used in seminars, taught at universities, and quoted in people’s thesis work. Our friends in that field inspire us by continuing against norms, changing laws through scientific proof that these medicines not only work – but have the capacity to bring about a better world.
While we're inspired by their progress, we struggle with our own. The process of this film has been a supremely difficult task- one of the most challenging we’ve all faced. It’s been daunting, sometimes discouraging, how long it’s taken us- and with the film still unfinished.
But we continue our dedication to the film, trying to keep ourselves afloat, pay the bills, and still save time to get this movie finished, and bring it into the world. And after finally securing all rights from the original production company, despite the debts we were left with – we continue to move forward.
There is some good news, too. Since our last update, we’ve done shoots with two of our three doctors: Gabor Maté and Jacques Mabit. Jacques was invited to speak in a series of seminars around Quebec - by an organization who is now using pieces of our short-form film as a teaching tool in universities. Gabor came to speak to the newly-formed Ayahuasca Association of Canada. Both were generous with their time, doing new, exhaustive interviews with us - as inspiring and incisive as always. (It could also be said that our questions themselves have matured, as well as our perspective on the work, with the time we’ve had to reflect - somewhat longer than expected…)
In recent weeks, we have been editing this material into a new piece - getting closer to the shape of the feature film. What remains for us is a trip to Colombia to spend time with our Taita Humberto, gathering his final thoughts on this whole experiment. And then proceed with editing the final version of the film
The end is in sight.
Meanwhile - to pay rent, help others with their visions of a better future, and continue with our own - each of us has worked on other projects. Robin has been developing her film GIFT, inspired by Lewis Hyde’s The Gift- “a brilliant defense of the value of creativity and its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities.”
Mark finished work on and helped launch This Changes Everything, written and narrated by author Naomi Klein. He is currently shooting another climate change doc, co-developing another film on the shell game of international economics, and shooting a third film in Brazil starting this week - while sifting through TJP/ayahuasca material on his days off.
Jeronimo’s activist work to support the integration of ayahuasca into western cultures has taken off in the past years, as a member of ICEERS he helped organized the World Ayahuasca Conference, and recently launched the Ayahuasca Defense Fund, to support people who run into legal trouble for working with ayahuasca. Meanwhile he continues to lecture on his favorite topic. Between his activism, his real job, his daughters (5 and 7), and living half a world away from us in Spain, Jeronimo has found it very hard to continue. He continues as a friend and an advisor, but he is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of the project.
Robin and Mark were just at Hot Docs, with the goal of raising enough money to do the last shoot in Colombia, to finish the film the way we envision it. We have begun working with a new producing partner - and still have hopes we can make this happen.
THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT
Many of you have been (understandably) angry about the lack of communication and response in the past year. We apologize. We promised to send rewards last summer, and we didn’t. The truth was that Jeronimo had blocked a month in August last year to work on that, and then it didn’t happen. He apologizes sincerely for not living up to his promise, and he will follow this update with a personal letter explaining everything.
Meanwhile, we continue to work here on producing the rewards for you, and making them special- (a project in itself.) One complication in all of this has been the production of DVD’s to accompany the sendouts. We have had a debate amongst ourselves about whether to send out a shorter version of the film we are making, with extras - something we can offer, so we don’t continue to keep you waiting...or wait until the final piece is finished. Our indecision about this has had the effect of stalling other rewards - and even, of sending out this update, which has taken much too long.
You have waited too long. We’ve decided to send all rewards now: t-shirts, CDs, books, and - for those of you who would like it- DVDs (or downloads) of what we have so far, plus some surprise extras. Then the final film could be made available to you when it is ready.
Soon we’ll begin collecting everyone’s updated addresses- and check in with you about this. Send-outs will finally begin in June and be fulfilled by July, while we have a bit of time off.
For the meantime – we wish you all well, and hope the world is being kind to you. Here at ground zero we continue with heads unbowed, hoping to have this film out into the world by 2017. We have one more round of financing hopes this fall – after which we promise to cut bait and simply finish editing whatever we have, the best we can- in the time your help has allowed us.
We know, again, that we’ve been silent for longer than anticipated. We feel embarrassed about how long it’s taken us, and how long we’ve kept you waiting.
We apologize, again.
All we can say is that we are here, we haven’t gone anywhere, your money is still in the bank, we continue to invest our work and love into this, and haven’t given up. And we are doing everything we can to make it worth the wait.
Thank you, again, for being there.
M, R & J