A music driven shamanic journey of three friends on a road trip who end up going further than they ever imagined. Following the breadcrumbs of synchronicity, dropped by an intelligent universe; they embark on a pilgrimage to the dark forest of the psyche in search of transcendent illumination.
After three months of recording, songwriter Bree decides to take a road trip to envision the mix of her songs. A mysterious triangle on a random map, suggests a destination. Two friends will tag along. Jeff, a head in the clouds writer, and Wyatt, a self absorbed Hollywood type. Thus begins the music driven shamanic journey called… This is not dying.
A chance encounter with a doctor; the trio come to his aid by giving him a ride home when his truck won’t start. It turns out the Dr. is a psychotherapist/shaman, using psilocybin mushrooms to facilitate his radical therapy. Soon, the three friends have decided to follow the white rabbit. One road; three trips.
Wyatt’s trip soon becomes a nightmare. All his wealth and power, cannot save him from the loss of his illusion of control. Can he escape the monsters which lurk in the darkness of his subconscious? Once the blockages of his fear, and egotism begin to dissolve, Wyatt communicates with older, wiser portions of himself, from a time when he still knew how to be happy.
Bree’s journey is a more tranquil experience. Basking in the sunlight of nature, she enjoys joyful communion with animals and nature spirits. Having long been on a shamanic quest through art, Bree’s adventure moves beyond personal issues of ego and mind, into dealing with the world by effecting change through inner growth.
Jeff takes refuge from his overactive imagination. Searching for the meaning of life amongst the endless details of his family diaries, he becomes overwhelmed. Jeff’s desire to save the world through environmentalism brings several characters to life, in an astral traveling journey to the giant Sequoias, and beyond.
Starring Groundlings founder:
Michael Lee Springer
Directed by W. Morrison
Cinematography by Alberto De Coste Calla
Voices by: Dr. Guy McPherson, Tim Piper, Monica Hankins
Painting by Denise Monaghan
Music by Neptune's daughter, Black Kaweah, AfriZEN
Executive Producers: Brent Bolthouse
Produced by Wendi Morrison & Jennie Cruz; with Patrick Kerwin
Sound: Drew O'Donnell
Edited by Wendi Morrison
Puppets by Keith Merritt
Animation by: Italian artist Michele Botticelli’s “Lovecraft’s Dream”; “Trip” by vjsuave; Ygor Marotta & Ceci Soloaga are audio visual projection artists from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Animation: Juli Perez, Dante Zaballa, vjsuave; Character Design: Ygor Marotta; Photography: vjsuave
Music by Neptune's daughter, Black Kaweah, AfriZEN
Animal Actors: Pixie's Place Animal Sanctuary 501.3c
DEDICATED TO CINEMATOGRAPHER:
ROBERT "BOBBY" LEE MORRISON
9 people, 5 days, 10k; art drenched, anti-formula, experimental: therapy session + music video + reality show + indie film +improv theater workshop...Breaking the 4th Wall.
Film Specs: Running Time: 1:39
Genre: New Media
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 Stereo
Cameras-Sony Alpha a7SII; Sony HD1080i, Canon Vixia mini & HF R400
Written & Directed by Morrison-Merritt
Director/Co-Writer/Actor/Musician: Wendi Morrison who was invited at 12 to join the Lee Strasberg Institute in Hollywood; came up through the punk/goth/emo rock club scene of Los Angeles, as a singer/songwriter/performance art rocker. A band of rebels: Wendi’s grandfather Talmadge “Remi” Morrison was a Paramount Studios still photographer, who was selected by Brando for his directorial debut with “One Eyed Jacks”. Emmy nominated father Robert “Bobby” Lee Morrison, a Cinematographer, Director (Hawaii 5-0 original) and Wendi's mentor; was known to aggravate both studio executives and teamsters. Executives because he was very talented and could not be bought, and teamsters for choosing minorities as his assistants, as he advocated for many so called outsiders. Wendi in turn is an animal and environmental advocate who grew up in Hawaii, and was introduced to Transcendental Meditation at age 9. This is where the shamanism was awakened. Also an advocate for Therapeutic and Medicinal “botanicals”, Wendi’s “day gigs” included a stint at Mark Mothersbaugh’s (DEVO) Mutato Muzika, along with assisting other working artists/ directors/ screenwriters. Wendi plays Bree and it is her experiences that the story is loosely based on.
“As an artist and shaman, my job is to inspire self expression, and ignite the seeker’s fire; activating the 3rd eye, and dousing the wounds in peroxide. This is the alchemical fire; this is when transformation begins”. ~shaman Wendi
Actor/Songwriter/Director/Animal Advocate: Gary Austin founded The Groundlings improv group, whose infamous Theater on Melrose has spawned such talent as Melissa McCarthy, Helen Hunt, SNL’s Laraine Newman, Phil Hartman, and Pee Wee Herman’s Paul Ruebens to name a very few. Austin’s improvisational style is both supported by the fluidity of “This is not dying” while benefitting of his experience. For the past thirty years, Austin has also performed his songs and stories across the U.S. to critical acclaim. His character and words, both captivating and hilarious.
The Gary Austin Workshop in the NoHo Arts District, provides an enigmatic muse in Gary, as he is a National Treasure! New and developing talent, or seasoned performers who wish to stay prescient, flock to him to be guided by his gentle genius. Breaking the 4th wall: "YOU TALKIN' TO ME?" A style choice Austin uses of a theater technique known in Shakespearean plays as ‘asides’, where characters address the audience during improvised scenes between characters. When a character addresses the audience the other characters in the scene, traditionally, don’t hear what is being said to the audience. http://www.garyaustinmusic.com
Update: Gary Austin lost his fight with Cancer and crossed the rainbow bridge, fittingly; on April Fool's Day 2017. It is in his memory, we dedicate our film.
Writer/Actor/Puppet Maker/Poet: Keith Merritt graduated from Penn State with a BFA in Theater; he is a puppet maker (creating a troupe of thespians know as Ugly Little People), and poet known as the Puppet Poet. Growing up in the forest of Lake Ariel, PA, Keith is naturally an environmentalist and animal advocate, whose deep connection to nature is reflected in his writing, which elicits ties to the great poets of our time: John Muir, Walt Whitman; along with his puppet creations, which evoke a Tim Burtonesque quality to them.
Danvir Singh is a seasoned theater actor with an M.F.A. in Acting, from UCSD/La Jolla Playhouse, and a B.A. in Theater, Cal State University, Bakersfield. He is also a DJ, who can be heard on KCHUNG radio in Los Angeles; a legitimate Baritone, and spent time acting in Moscow doing Russian Art Theater.
He has appeared in productions of Grapes of Wrath, Ex Machina, Hamlet, Blood & Gifts, which was nominated for the San Diego Theater Critics Circle for the Craig Noel Awards; and Evita, which was nominated for the ACTF Irene Ryan Award.
Danvir as “Wyatt” represents all that is wrong with our self centered society. His indulgences, drive his inner need for love and acceptance. Danvir captures both the comedy and tragedy of the character, flawlessly. UCSD Theater Showcase
Cinematographer Alberto De Coste Calla was born in La Paz, Bolivia; he has a BA in Actuarial Mathematics, and a M.F.A. in Cinematography from Chapman College, where he's just graduated from this May 2016. He recently premiered his thesis film: “Silent Light”, which showcases his immense talent for light and composition. Also, a short film he shot called Orbiting by Nancy Liu was recently accepted both at Cannes Short Film Corner, and the Laguna Film Festival. Alberto is nearly super human, earning him Jedi status. The fact that he was able to pull off shooting at night, in a glass house, is “reflective” of his talent! Alberto De Coste Calla
At 23, Jennie Cruz, our Co-Producer/Script Supervisor/Make-Up/AD, is already a veteran with 10 years of filmmaking under her belt! Starting with film courses at 13, Jennie starred in her first indie feature at 16, and directed her first feature at 19, and has worked on one film per year since the age of 14. Jennie started the Bakersfield 18 Hour Film Project at 17, and ran it until she was 21. Just transferred to SFSU, Jennie already has a degree in film production, art literature, business, and business management. She is an animal lover, with rabbits and doves who travel with her. Deemed “St. Patrick”, her partner Patrick Kerwin, provided production assistance, filling in any gap we threw him into.
As the voice of white rabbit “John Lennon”, Tim Piper has been portraying John Lennon for most of his life. He has appeared along with brother Greg in: Just Imagine, a rock ‘n’ roll celebration of the life and music of John Lennon; directed by Greg Piper, received Critic’s Choice by both L.A. Weekly and the L.A. Times. A musician, actor and songwriter, Tim Piper has traveled the world performing as the preeminent John Lennon with roles in the CBS production The Linda McCartney Story, E! Channel’s John Lennon Story, Beatle Wives and as the singing voice of Lennon for the NBC TV movie of the week, In His Life -The John Lennon Story. With their tribute band: Working Class Hero, the Piper’s are the only tribute act to perform at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, a pre-screening performance for the re-release debut of Yellow Submarine, and the John Lennon 20th anniversary memorial gathering in Central Park. http://www.justimaginetheshow.com http://www.tooners.com
Guitarist/Producer Michael Jost is originally from Dreieich, Germany, with much time spent in Amsterdam. He is a brilliant Flamenco player and a 22-year veteran of the Venice Beach music scene, whose Breakwater Studio is the backdrop for his internet show: Radio Venice. He has played with a diverse lineage of players: Suzy Williams, Andy Kravitz, Joey Maramba to name a few; and the bands DEAN and Golden Buddah; including, producing tracks for the psychedelic bands: Send Medicine and Mindflowers. Michael’s flamenco work can be seen and heard in a music video called “Nuclear Spinach” which made the festival circuit a few years back. He is endorsed by Candelas Guitars. http://www.radiovenice.tv
Michael Lee Springer is a John Muir Living history interpreter, due to his extreme likeness to the poet/environmentalist, but also as a natural expression for his love of nature. Michael is a fabulous musician whose Black Kaweah project, provides TIND with haunting music as a gentle contrast from the Neptune’s daughter tracks.
Drew O’Donnell is a Computer Science major/Film Geek, turned Audio Engineer; who started in a music studio in Los Angeles, and transitioned to freelance Sound Mixer, and Sound Editor. He loves to be on set, and help bring a vision to life! Aspiring Sound Designer and team player, whose bright spirit is an asset on any production. His partner and assistant Monica Hankins, who also served as assistant to our DP; is actually an incredible Costume Designer for her company Boxcar Boutique. Monica also provided a delightful performance as the voice of the mirror puppet. http://boxcarboutiquela.com
Environmental and Animal advocate; artist Denise Monaghan paints breathtaking portraits of animals and nature, to convey the message of conservancy. Originally from the Minneapolis Art Scene, Denise created “Shamanic Rising” for TIND. The painting provides an eerie 5th person personification as it looms over the group throughout the evening. http://denisemonaghan.com
As a filmmaker, my cinematic palate is as complex as I am. As a child, I was drawn to Science Fiction (Outer Limits & The Twilight Zone) and vampires: Dark Shadows; in my teens it was movies that were visually evocative, and made me think.
My favorite storytellers are not literal.
Filmmakers such as David Lynch and Terry Gilliam were huge inspirations. Lynch offers multi-dimensionalism, while the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Lars Von Trier, and Guillermo Del Toro, play with light and dark landscapes.
I deeply appreciate the way Cameron Crowe and Martin Scorsese are able to bring such compassion and nostalgia to their work; plus, the way they dip into the eccentric well. The Merchant-Ivory films are all incredible ensembles, set in romantic and organic beauty!
Tarantino brings that glimpse of raw synergy with dark humor, and Baz Luhrmann always delivers the magic of musical theater pieces, rich in poetic textures.
Old School: With MTV’s 120 min show, inconveniently on from midnight to two am; I was invited into a world where music and art were infused into alter-worlds of beauty; where visual artists such as Matt Mahurn and Anton Corbijn transcended ether. This could not be found anywhere else in mainstream.
Quirky characters are essential to me; Wes Andersen and the Cohen Brothers are magicians at creating interestingly weird characters that tend to mirror reality more than we realize. With art, we are able to align to a higher essence within. The Wacowski’s offer the gift of transmutation, a phoenix, rising from the ashes. Their films are what the 5th dimensional reality, and a shamanic awakening, are all about.
Coming up through punk rock, I discovered rules were meant to be broken. As an Indigo starseed, I know inherently, my purpose is to push through duality, to anchor multi-dimensionality. I hope that in some small way, I have been able to share some of that vision, most important, I hope that the viewer is able to laugh, think, and find some inspiration.
W. Morrison, Director
"There's a war going on, it's a battle...for your mind"
Bree~This is not dying~
Do you have questions or comments about our film? Do you have a theater where we could arrange a screening? Send us a message, and we will get back to you soon.