Prize of the Jury
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. The film 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 millenia. The film 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 the viewer 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. The documentary is one of the most moving and beautiful depictions of our understanding of consciousness and of who we are, depicted through film.