AWARE: Glimpses of Consciousness

A documentary film by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black

Come and share in this beautiful cinematic enquiry into the nature of consciousness as part of your Beyond the Brain 2022 conference experience. We will be having a virtual film screening and then a panel discussion with the filmmakers Frauke Sandig and Eric Black – and Monica Gagliano, one of the researchers featured in the film.

What is consciousness? Is it in all living beings? What happens when we die? Why do we seem to be hardwired for mystical experience?

AWARE follows six brilliant researchers, approaching the greatest of all mysteries from radically different perspectives, from within and without: through high-tech brain research and Eastern meditation, by scientifically exploring inner space through psychedelic substances and by investigating the consciousness of plants. Scientists are arriving at new insights – some have been integral to Indigenous knowledge for millenia.

AWARE opens as a science film but emerges well beyond the explicable, ultimately leading one on a voyage upon the ocean of consciousness, a contemplative, sensual, cinematographic meditation. The networks of consciousness are reflected in ‘grand’ imagery revealing the vast interconnectedness of Nature – from the smallest organisms, to the world of plants and animals and on to the cosmos. It invites one to experience the awe and mystery of life as the researchers do, to dive in with them, returning to see the world anew, to review long-held beliefs and assumptions and initiate one’s own oceanic journey.

Trailer (click anywhere to play)

What people think

For a long time, consciousness was a dirty word in science. It was a very strange thing to happen, that the very core of humanity should become taboo to the very people who are meant to be researching it, for what indeed can be more important than unravelling our innermost being and following the ancient maxim of ‘Know thyself’.
This marvellous film does a remarkable job of bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines, including my own field of psychedelic research, as they attempt to discover a little more about conscious experience and what it means to be aware.

– Amanda Feilding, The Beckley Foundation

The most moving and beautiful depiction of deep understanding of consciousness and of who we are that I have seen depicted through film.

– Jack Kornfield, author and Buddhist teacher

Stirs feelings of awe and wonder, humility and connection. A remarkable film.

– Valerie Kalfrin, Alliance of Women Film Journalists

Consciousness-elevating food for thought.

– Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

Stunningly deep, wise and visually arresting, the most mind-blowing Film the Maui Film Festival has presented in twenty years!”

– Barry Rivers, Maui Film Festival Founder/Director

Timetable for the evening

Thursday 3rd November 5:30 – 9:00 pm (UK)

5:30 pm Suggested start time to watch virtual film via Vimeo link sent out the day before

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Zoom panel with Frauke Sandig, Eric Black, Monica Gagliano and Jessica Corneille

Panel Members

Frauke Sandig and Eric Black

Frauke Sandig and Eric Black

Filmmakers Frauke and Eric, of Berlin and San Francisco, have worked together as co-directors, co-writers and co-producers since 1998. AWARE is the 4th collaboration.

Previous work together includes the feature-length documentaries:

  • HEART OF SKY, HEART OF EARTH, 2011, 15 awards including 1st Prize Planet in Focus FF, 115 film festivals, including IDFA, DokLeipzig, Opening Film Muestra de Cine Internacional Memoria Verdad Justicia Guatemala 2012.
  • FROZEN ANGELS, 2005, Sundance FF. Audience Award at Visions du Réel, Nyon, Prix de Cinephage Creteil, Special Jury Mention at FICCO, selected by DokLeipzig, HotDocs, Mill Valley, Sheffield, Vancouver IFF, Sydney FF and many others.
  • AFTER THE FALL, 2000, Berlinale, German Camera Prize, Golden Gate Award at San Francisco IFF; 42 festivals, including IDFA, Karlovy Vary

Monica Gagliano

Monica Gagliano

Monica Gagliano PhD is an internationally award-winning research scientist, selected by Biohabitats as one of the 24 most Inspiring Women of Ecology, together with Jane Goodall, Rachel Carson, Sylvia Earl, and Terry Tempest Williams.

She has been an invited lecturer at the most prestigious universities, including UC Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Dartmouth and Georgetown. Monica’s pioneering work has been widely featured by prominent media, such as The New York Times, Forbes, The New Yorker, The Guardian, National Geographic, and many others.

Jessica Corneille

Jessica Corneille

Jessica Corneille, MSc is a Research Psychologist specialising in spontaneous spiritual awakening experiences. She graduated with a Masters Degree in Psychology (Distinction) from the University of Greenwich, where she focused her studies on exceptional human experiences. With a passion to bridge the worlds of science and spirituality, her mission is to challenge the default pathologisation of awakening experiences by helping to inform and encourage mainstream psychology to look beyond the current designated spectrum of ‘normality’, to encompass the transpersonal as something that is intrinsic to the human experience.