Glimpses of Consciousness
AWARE explores boundary-pushing research in the understanding of consciousness.
Directed by Frauke Sandig, Eric Black
Produced by Frauke Sandig, Eric Black
Director of Photography: Black
Dramaturgy: Frauke Sandig
Editors: Franziska von Berlepsch, Rune Schweitzer
Composer: ZoŽ Keating
An Umbrella Films Production in Co-Production with Hanfgarn & Ufer Filmproduktion and ZDF/3sat
[Note: Community screenings of AWARE can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]
"The most mind-blowing film the Maui Film Festival has presented in twenty years!" Barry Rivers, Founder/Director, Maui Film Festival
What is consciousness? Is it in all living beings? What happens when we die? Why do we seem to be hardwired for mystical experience? In these times of existential crisis, there has been an explosion of research into consciousness. After four centuries of silence, scientists are confronting the "Big Questions," cutting a window into a realm previously held tight by philosophy and religion.
AWARE: Glimpses of Consciousness follows six brilliant researchers, approaching the greatest of all mysteries from radically different perspectives, from within and without: through high-tech brain research and Eastern meditation, by scientifically exploring inner space through psychedelic substances and by investigating the consciousness of plants. Scientists are arriving at new insights - some have been integral to Indigenous knowledge for millennia.
AWARE opens as a science film but emerges well beyond the explicable, ultimately leading one on a voyage upon the ocean of consciousness, a contemplative, sensual, cinematographic meditation. The networks of consciousness are reflected in 'grand' imagery revealing the vast interconnectedness of Nature _ from the smallest organisms, to the world of plants and animals and on to the cosmos. It invites one to experience the awe and mystery of life as the researchers do, to dive in with them, returning to see the world anew, to review long-held beliefs and assumptions and initiate one's own oceanic journey. Ultimately, to be aware one is aware.
AWARE is the second film in the Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth trilogy, also available from Bullfrog Films.
Christof Koch, Ph.D, President and Chief Scientist, Allen Institute for Brain Science
Matthieu Ricard, Ph.D, Tibetan-Buddhist Monk, Shechen Monastery, Nepal
Monica Gagliano, Ph.D, Professor of Plant Behaviour & Cognition, Univ. of Sydney
Josefa Kirvin Kulix, Mayan Healer and Therapist, Chiapas, Mexico
Roland R. Griffiths, Ph. D, Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, Johns Hopkins University
Richard Boothby, Ph.D, Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University, Maryland
Mingyur Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist Teacher
Grade Level: 10 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2022
Copyright Date: 2021
DVD ISBN: 1-948745-79-8
"I found Aware to be in many ways the most moving and beautiful depiction of deep understanding of consciousness and of who we are that I have seen depicted through film. I was really stunned and touched and inspired. Underneath it, I see the film as an invitation for us as human beings to step out of our sense of separateness...and realize and understand that we are life itself, that we are part of the living fabric that breathes us and thinks us. And that changes everything."
Jack Kornfield, author and Buddhist teacher
"This film will change your life forever."
Alex Ferrari, Indie Film Hustle, Next Level Soul Talks
"Aware is a deeply moving cinematic and philosophical achievement. The film cuts to the very heart of our mystical nature as humans, of consciousness, and of 'what is.' The viewer cannot but walk away with a restored sense of the sheer interconnectedness of the universe. Powerfully shot, fundamentally mind-expanding, and profoundly healing."
Anita Hannig, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology, Brandeis University, Author, The Day I Die: The Untold Story of Assisted Dying in America
"For a long time, consciousness was a dirty word in science. It was a very strange thing to happen, that the very core of humanity should become taboo to the very people who are meant to be researching it, for what indeed can be more important than unravelling our innermost being and following the ancient maxim of 'Know thyself.' This marvelous film does a remarkable job of bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines, including my own field of psychedelic research, as they attempt to discover a little more about conscious experience and what it means to be aware."
Amanda Feilding, Founder and Director, The Beckley Foundation
"Aware is an awareness-raiser all by itself. This is an extraordinary film, for its informative scenes in the labs and inspirational interviews with an amazing group of people, and also for its evocative cinematography and music. When used in a group setting, the film will stimulate much post-viewing conversation about the benefits versus challenges of various ways to alter consciousness for personal peace and growth."
Tyler Volk, Professor Emeritus of Biology and Environmental Studies, New York University, Author, Quarks to Culture: How We Came to Be
"Aware is a captivating introduction to consciousness, expertly weaving insights from science and spirit, persuasively inviting mind and heart to embrace and explore the mystery within."
Don Hoffman, Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Sciences, University of California-Irvine, Author, The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid The Truth From Our Eyes
"Drawing on new work in science and indigenous wisdom alike, Aware is a lyrical and often moving journey into the prismatic question of consciousness - the wonder of it, the power of it, and how it connects us to the universe that surrounds us."
Cary Wolfe, Founding Director, 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory, Rice University, Author, What Is Posthumanism?
"Aware is a beautiful mix of pacing, cinematography, and material that gives a vehicle for contemplating one of the deepest mysteries of the mind: consciousness. Instead of trying to instill a view on the viewer, Aware opens the mind to possibilities beyond our current concepts, and the interconnectedness that may exist with all living beings."
Judson A. Brewer, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Director of Research and Innovation, Mindfulness Center, Brown University
"Aware is an elegant, multi-dimensional meditation on the ultimate nature of human and non-human consciousness. It will be a valuable tool for students and other interested individuals who are just beginning to explore the beautiful, perplexing, awe-inspiring conundrum of Being. Leave your need for concrete answers at the door and prepare to roll around in the mystery."
Hillary S. Webb, PhD, Coordinator, Consciousness Studies, Goddard College, Author, Traveling Between the Worlds: Conversations with Contemporary Shamans
"Science and spirituality join forces in the mindful if heavily meditative documentary, Aware...The investigation brings together individuals from both disciplines to provide colorful perspectives...Consciousness-elevating food for thought."
Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
"Whether it's an elephant finding amusement at play or a deep introspective psychedelics-induced journey into inner space to find meaning, the film surfaces existential mysteries at the core of the human experience in an entertaining and enlightening fashion."
Bradley Gibson, Film Threat
"The very nature of science is at the heart of Frauke Sandig and Eric Black's absorbing documentary, which asks more questions than it can answer in ways that leave you wanting to learn more...Ultimately, we get a touching portrait of a variety of different human beings all circling around the fascinating, perhaps unsolvable, problem of the mind."
Bilge Ebiri, Spirituality and Health
"A fascinating look at who we are, and how we fit into the cosmos and life's continuum...Humans are not nearly at a place where we have answered who we are, what we're doing here, and what happens to us when we're gone. Given what is happening to the environment and climate around the world, we could benefit mightily from answering questions about our place in nature and in the universe. A lot would change for the better if we truly knew how interconnected we are. With Aware, Sandig and Black show us some brilliant people getting closer to figuring out something essential to us all."
Leslie Combemale, Alliance of Women Film Journalists
"Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness is a heady experience - dare I say spiritual? - that stirs feelings of awe and wonder, humility and connection...The film creates a contemplative openness that words alone might find hard to describe. It's a remarkable film."
Valerie Kalfrin, Alliance of Women Film Journalists
"Scientifically and spiritually dense...Aware will leave you feeling like you've unlocked a cheat code for a new level of otherworldly understanding."
Morgan Rojas, Cinemacy
"Stunningly deep, wise and visually arresting, Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness is the most mind-blowing film the Maui Film Festival has presented in twenty years! It cracked open my coconut and filled it with insight, mystery, and visions of what might be. See it as soon as you can!"
Barry Rivers, Founder and Director, Maui Film Festival
"It is quite a task to create a film to represent something as ineffable as awareness, and yet the filmmakers, Eric Black and Frauke Sandig, managed to create a work of art that is highly compelling...The cinematography is stunning, offering us abundant images and sounds of nature that evoke both peace and awe, accompanied by a rich and varied soundtrack that contributes to the contemplative mood."
Kelly Birch, LA Yoga Magazine
|DVDs include public performance rights.
SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing as well as chapter selection
The film's website with lots of useful information
Awards and Festivals
Nationwide Broadcast on PBS's "Independent Lens"
Short-Listed, German Academy Awards
Jury Prize, Debut Feature Competition, Illuminate Film Festival
Online Audience Award, Millennium Docs Against Gravity
Create The Future Award, Maui Film Festival
Byron Bay International Film Festival
Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
Film Without Borders Festival
Spirit Film Festival
Five Lakes Film Festival
Hof International Film Festival
Shift Your World Film Festival
|Heart Of Sky, Heart Of Earth|
Six young Maya present a wholly indigenous perspective, in which all life is sacred and connected, as they resist the destruction of their culture and environment.
Explores the life and ideas of Lynn Margulis, a scientific rebel who challenged entrenched theories of evolution to present a new narrative: life evolves through collaboration.
A portrait of James Lovelock, originator of the theory that the earth is a self-regulating system maintaining the conditions that allow its perpetuation.
A 3-part series of short films examining the ripple effects of our actions in an interconnected world.
An Ecology of Mind
A daughter's loving film portrait of one of the 20th century's most influential thinkers, Gregory Bateson, anthropologist, systems theorist and ecologist.
Portrait of Haida artist, Robert Davidson, whose art and activism point the way towards a renewed connection with the natural world, perhaps saving us from ourselves.
Suzuki explores biophilia -- the innate, hereditary need of human beings to affiliate with nature.
The Shaman's Apprentice
Ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin's quest to preserve the ancient wisdom of Amazonian shamans.
Portrays the life and work of the famous eco-theologian.
The Divided Brain
Explores Iain McGilchrist's pioneering exploration of the differences between the brain's right and left hemispheres and their effects on society, history, and culture.
Into The Night
2-DVD set features intimate, provocative stories of men and women forever changed by their encounters with mortality.
Putting the role of human beings in the biosphere back into proper perspective.
2-part series based on the book Biomimicry - a new science that studies nature's best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems.
The Dhamma Brothers
An overcrowded maximum-security prison is dramatically changed by the influence of an ancient meditation program.
... more Reviews
"Not only do words fail. It's notoriously difficult to visually depict a psychedelic state of mind on film. Sandig and Black do so in subtle but powerful ways. Not with cheesy special effects, but with mystical footage of the cosmic dance between sea and sky, forests and ferns, birds and bees...There is awe and wonder coming from all the 'experts' interviewed in Aware, whether they are scientists or mystics. In the end, this is a hopeful film, and God knows we could all use some of that right now."
Don Lattin, Lucid News
"A work of such startling beauty that it provides something of a psychedelic experience in itself."
The Curb, Australia
"One of the best and most beautifully crafted films on consciousness I have ever seen. And I've seen quite a few. Thought-provoking and inspiring, with exquisite cinematography. Highly recommended for anyone interested in leading edge ideas on consciousness."
Peter Russell, Author, From Science to God and Letting Go of Nothing
"Aware is an aesthetically beautiful and philosophically challenging introduction to experimental and experiential explorations of consciousness. This is a compelling immersion in personal journeys of panpsychic mysticism from Buddhist meditation through indigenous healing traditions to psilocybin research in the lab."
Patrick Grim, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Stony Brook University, Philosopher in Residence, Center for Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan