Outside of a few small, select circles – chefs, mycologists, jam band followers – the words “fantastic” and “fungi” rarely share the same sentence. But thanks to the latest film by award-winning cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg, this will change.
Fantastic Fungi, through the generous use of time-lapse imagery, speaks the universal language of awe. It’s the mushroom world’s March of the Penguins.
Until watching the film’s trailer, my appreciation of mushrooms could be gauged by two limiting classifications: Deliciousness and Since-I-Don’t-Know-What-It-Is-It’s-Obviously-More-Lethal-Than-A-Poisonous-Dart-Frog. That was it. Nothing more. Low-grade indifference.
But after re-watching the trailer for the fourth time I felt like I did when I first discovered the writings of Cormac McCarthy or the music of Mississippi John Hurt or the taste-trance of Noosa yoghurt, wondering how I was never made aware of this years before.
Left in the hands of anyone else, this film would just be another ho-hum documentary, relegated to late night reruns on local PBS stations following Austin City Limits. But Schwartzberg’s visual genius, coupled with the commentary of world-wow mycologist Paul Stamets, allows you to see mushrooms with the same awe normally reserved for Yosemite Valley at dawn or the Perseids meteor shower under a new moon.
Schwartzberg’s Fundraising Campaign
But to complete this film it needs funding assistance. You can make it happen with a small donation via Kickstarter. This cyber-fund drive runs through April 11th with a goal of $100,000. If you need motivation watch the short trailer. At the very least it will give you and those you share it with the gift of awe and wonder, expanding the circle of those who utter the words “fantastic” and “fungi” in the same sentence.