Image for Film: Know Your Mushrooms!

Film: Know Your Mushrooms!

Written by Robbie Gadsbey on August 20, 2009

Directed by Ron Mann
Starring: Garry Lincoff, Larry Evans and lots of fungii.

The first and last time I took mushrooms I was in school, literally. One of my friends had a bottle of water that looked as if it was mixed with soil. He said that it was magic mushrooms. I didn’t believe him and said that I would drink it to prove him wrong. Next thing I knew I was in a fit of hysterics at anything that was said or shown to me. I’ve never been that interested in mushrooms since (even though the experience was rather pleasant) and to be honest I didn’t really think this documentary would be all that interesting but like my experience at school I was proven wrong and rather enjoyed this foray into the world of the shroom.

Know Your Mushrooms
follows eager fungophiles Gary Lincoff, Lary Evans and others to the annual Telluride Mushroom Festival in Colorado. Music Feeds caught up with director Ron Mann (Comic Book Confidential) to discuss fungi, folklore and rotten tomatoes!

Music Feeds: What made you decide to make a documentary about mushrooms? Have you had any experiences of the hallucinagenic kind yourself?

Ron Mann: I was introduced to the mysterious world of mushrooms by filmmaker and mushroom lover Jim Jarmusch who told me about the annual Telluride Mushroom Festival in Colorado. I went down to the festival and tripped on mushrooms, that is, in the mycelium rich forests you can literally trip over mushrooms of all varieties. There I learned that mushrooms were not only a pizza topping, but they can possibly be the the key to healing the planet. Oyster mushrooms for example can soak up industrial toxins and restore habitat. Ultimately I thought it was important to, what Jim calls “spreading the spores”, spreading the information about mushrooms and their potential benefits. Your other question? I’m having a hallucinogenic experience right now.”

MF: There are some cool visual sequences in this film, especially some nice animated moments. Why did you decide to use animation in the film?

RM: Most of my films are multi-media and incorporate animation. In the last few years I’ve collaborated with Mike Roberts, who with his laptop is a one man animation studio.”

MF: How have audience reactions to the film been?

RM: It’s rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes!

MF: Well thats enough said! Do you have a favourite Mushroom?

RM: Lions Mane which stimulates growth of new nerve and brain cells. At my age I can’t get enough!

MF: How long did it take you to shoot the film?

RM: Four days of the festival condensed down to an entertaining 80 minutes of nature porn.

And entertaining nature porn it is! Fungi factoids pop up throughout the film and are particularly fascinating. For instance, I did not know that fungi are the largest orgainsms on earth nor the sheer amount of species that there actually are. I also thought that it was a myth that pigs are used to sniff out truffles but again, I was proved wrong. It took me a while to get into the film and it is a little slow in places but after a brisk 73 minute running time, I was left with more questions than answers. Know Your Mushrooms is an unexpectedly exciting ‘trip’ and definatly leaves you wanting to know more about this mysterious species, maybe enough to give them another go!

You will love this if: you believe mushrooms hold the secret to the universe!
You will hate this if: you don’t know the difference between your shiitake and your shaggy mane.

‘Know Your Mushrooms’ is screening exclusively at Possible Worlds, the 4th Canadian Film Festival, on Saturday 22nd August at the Red Rattler. For full festival programme and to book tickets visit:

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