Screenworks member Dean Jeffreys is a documentary filmmaker and social change activist. His film Shamans of the Amazon was broadcast on SBS and has become a cult film on Shamans and ayahuasca.  Dean is crowdfunding for a new film The God Molecule and the Shamanic Toad, we spoke to Dean about his work and his passions.

SW:Tell us a bit about what you do in the Screen Industry and how you got involved. 

Dean: I first got into film making as an effective tool to bring about social change. I came to filmmaking as a social change activist. I started by filming protests rather than being the ‘fodder’. I then sent the footage to news networks and current affairs programs, turning local issues to national and global issues. The very first protests I filmed was in 1984, the Roxby Downs Uranium protests. I flew over the main mine shaft in an ultra light aircraft and dropped a wreath of flowers onto the Uranium mine. The footage was picked up by the Channel 10 news network. It was then that I realised the power of the media and the importance of creating your own media.

SW:What’s the project you have most enjoyed working on, and why?

Dean: I have two passion projects that I’m running at the moment, these two passions been a major part of my life; communicating with whales and Shamanic practices in the Amazon. My most famous film is Shamans of the Amazon, it has become a cult film on shamans and Ayahuasca. It was one of the first films to be made about Ayahuasca.

SW:How long have you been living and working in the Northern Rivers?

Dean: I moved to Northern Rivers in 1992 after coming back from filming in the Amazon for my film Amazon – The Invisible People. I had the footage for the film and I set up in bails in Huonbrook to write a documentary based on the footage. The documentary was taken up by SBS

SW:What is important to you in being a successful and creative regional filmmaker

Dean: Success to me is about being able to express and get my passion out and delivered to an audience. My success is living my passion, recording and sharing. My passions are for social justice and consciousness change.

The Northern Rivers suits my lifestyle, I live on my marine conservation boat Migaloo II and am surrounded by like minded people.

SW: Tell us a bit about what you have been working on most recently?

Dean: The film I’m working on at the moment is call The God Molecule and Shamanic Toad, a follow on from Shamans of the Amazon. Most of my documentaries are based on my experiences and following my passion. When I experienced the venom from the Sonara Desert toad in Mexico, I could see the great potential this medicine had for helping to create a quantum shift in global consciousness. So I wanted to explore the traditional use, not only of toad medicine but other uses of the particular molecule, which is called 5-MeO-DMT

My plan is to do some crowd funding. I’ve become disillusioned with traditional funding and distribution models so am exploring crowdfunding and pay per view as a distribution model, by-passing traditional funding and distribution and going direct to an interested audience.

SW: Is there anything else that you would like to share with us about you and your work?

Dean: Another film I am working on is called the Whale Whisperers. The reason why both these films interest me is because I believe we need to develop ways of, as humans listening to the natural world, listening and doing what is necessary for the planet to bring about appropriate change. Plants and animals have secrets hidden away which are available to us if we care to look. Whales, toads, vines of the amazon all have magic if we are willing to investigate.

The secrets are understanding our self and connection to the great spirit and understanding our relationship with all life.

As my passion and filmmaking are intrinsically linked, as much as I like hanging out with whales I want to share how deeply we can connect so others can have these amazing experiences. It’s the same with the medicine plants, they are my passion and I want to share how they can bring about a consciousness shift. The two are one and that’s my life.



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