26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Pharm'n'Films: Psychadelic Sandoz
Aside from its production of medications, the Swiss pharmaceutic Sandoz company, currently a part of the Novartis corporation, has gained fame by producing and distributing several psychedelic substances the best known of which is probably LSD synthesized by Albert Hofmann in the Basel laboratories. The impact of the popularity of psychedelic drugs in the 1960s made the Sandoz name familiar to the general public and even propelled it into popular culture. For instance, in 1967, The Animals band released a song called A Girl Named Sandoz. The Sandoz company also reflected on the turbulent social changes of the 1960s with its own production of films which amalgamated around the Cinémathèque Sandoz film center that was in charge of production and distribution of the films. Although these films were part of the company's marketing strategy, it sometimes transcended the purely utilitarian form of educational, information or advertising film. The most interesting Sandoz films straddle the border between industrial film and artistic experiment and address subjects that are seemingly irrelevant to pharmaceutic production and often difficult to grasp, such as the mind and its various states, the phenomenon of both physical and mental disease, depiction of different ways of perception, non-European systems of healing, or psychedelic experiences and their processing. For a certain period in the 1960s and 1970s, Cinémathèque Sandoz managed to create a noteworthy film platform that granted a degree of creative freedom to the filmmakers. Thus, films were created those offer unexpected viewpoints that reacted to the cultural and social revolution of the 1960s and probably also to the discovery and research of LSD which Sandoz was promoting in the market as a new medication to treat mental disorders. This section presents six films selected from the Sandoz portfolio that represent various takes on the exploration of the theme of unusual states of mind and their understanding.
Lea Petříková will be presenting her project in a form of a film lecture. She is a Czech director and a documentarist.
The lecture will include the screening of these titles:
Images of the Visionary World
The Burning Ear
Ballet on a Paraphrenic Topic