A fun time with ‘Fungi’ film & live Q and A

It’s a not-so-trivial question: How many movies rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes last year?

Louie Schwartzberg’s documentary “Fantastic Fungi” was one, one of just eight 2019 movies so rated. “We are in a rarified class,” the director allowed. “That is remarkable.”

Equally remarkable is Thursday’s global internet event, Fantastic Fungi Day, where “People can rent or download the film and are free to Zoom call a live Q&A from all over the world.”

  • Louie Schwartzberg

  • Paul Agarikon in “Fantastic Funghi”

  • Bridal Veil mushrooms from “Fantastic Funghi”

There will be three live-streamed Q&As with Schwartzberg, guests and notables from the film.

“We’d been working on this for four months in terms of a theatrical experience and it was being marketed that way with over 30 countries,” Schwartzberg said.

“There were sold-out theaters in London, Cape Town and all across the U.S. because people are hungry (for alternatives) and the content in the movie is all about what we’re doing.

“But obviously with the pandemic, we’ll see people watch it at home and still have the live Q&A and a connection when everyone’s talking about social distancing.

“Fungi,” he added, taking a cue from his “Magic Mushroom” movie, “kills viruses. It’s an antidote for healing your body and healing the planet. The message is on the money at this time.”

Penicillin, Schwartzberg pointed out, “is a fungi that saved more lives than any medicine ever invented. We’re looking for the next (fungus-produced) penicillin.

“It’s not a hippy dippy idea. This is real hardcore science, combined with common sense and consciousness.”

The pandemic has forced emergency solutions all over our planet and Schwartzberg believes that’s not all bad.

“There’s a silver lining to what’s happening: Less CO2, we’re thinking about the elderly and spending time with family. We’re spending less time traveling and more time traveling inside. We’re slowing down and it’s good for us.”

Before “Fungi” Schwartzberg was already recognized as a pioneer in high-end time-lapse photography.

“For 40 years I’ve had cameras rolling in my studio indoors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I shoot 2-3 seconds per day of stream time. Film is 24 frames per second and I shoot one frame every 15 minutes. It’s not slow motion, it’s compressing time.

“I pioneered that and built the largest contemporary library, which was acquired by Getty Images in 1996 as its first visual library.

“The power of it is just like a microscope lets you see bacteria, we’re making the invisible visible.”

The Q&As are free to sign up. Schwartzberg said, “Go to https://fantasticfungi.com/ It’s got all the information.”

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