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