by Jordan Minnick
Last fall, filmmaker Nik Fackler (Lovely, Still) headed to Ebando Village in Gabon, Africa, to live among villagers and film the documentary Sick Birds Die Easy. With cameras focused on the African religion of Bwiti and the use of an ancient, "insanely hallucinogenic plant" called iboga, Fackler's film became unique, injected with his own philosophy, as production presumed after filming.
"It has an exploration of music, an exploration of psychedelic drug research and exploration of their culture," Fackler says.
Used for the past 10,000 years in Bwiti religious ceremonies, iboga's healing qualities have since surfaced as a solution to help overcome addictions, especially heroin, with success rates.
Fackler describes the iboga intake as a two-day-long, out-of-body experience. Tribe members sing, dance, cast spells and let themselves be cleansed. Comparable to two days of nightmares, he says, you come out of it healed, after facing the darkest sides of yourself.
"The village was filled with Africans," he says, "but it was also filled with a lot of ex-heroin addicts who are now living a tribal lifestyle, because this plant saved them."
Still in post-production and without a release date, Sick Birds Die Easy also features soundtrack work from Capgun Coup's Sam Martin.
"My songs are like a body part," says Martin, "it's very difficult to give something your body parts.
"The music and sound in a film is the air, the texture, what breathes life into the subconscious. It's the part you don't even realize is there. So coming from a standpoint of realizing it's there, like in my case, it is a very intricate and thoughtful process. It's like two people are collaborating in my mind: the me who is watching, and the me who knows how to trick and manipulate the me who is watching."
"I want it to reveal a bunch of information about things in the world that maybe people didn’t know about, when it comes to drug addiction and the world of psychedelics and their healing properties."
African locals dance to InDreama song "Loopopper" on the last day of shooting.
Jordan Minnick is a contributor for Hear Nebraska. She recomends the new albums from Tennis, Chairlift, Gotye and Dr. Dog. Contact her at email@example.com.