The Way of the Psychonaut explores the life and work of Stanislav Grof, Czech-born psychiatrist and psychedelic psychotherapy pioneer. Stan’s quest for knowledge and insights into the healing power of non-ordinary states of consciousness, influenced the discipline of psychology and profoundly changed many individual lives. One of those transformed by Stan is filmmaker Susan Hess Logeais. The documentary utilizes Susan’s personal existential crisis as a gateway to Grof’s impact, from the micro to the macro.
Susan and Stan begin with a series of interviews that reveal his journey from material scientist to a spiritually aware explorer of the deep psyche. Interviews combined with re-enactments of Stan’s most remarkable therapeutic sessions bring to life the development of his theories. Additionally, a multi-layered visual story provides a framework of meaning to Susan’s personal exploration of Stan’s techniques and discoveries. The result is a powerful glimpse of what is possible for all of us.
Through his experiences, Stan gained a profound trust in the wisdom of the higher self, and discovered the lasting impact of unconscious memories from the birth process to influence a person’s life. In the process, Stan unlocked a way for renegotiating these experiences and liberating people from their traumas.
As the story expands, interviews with luminaries create a conversation between Stan and those most pivotal in his life; Michael Murphy, who invited him to Esalen as Scholar in Residence; Fritjof Capra, who introduced Stan to Quantum Mechanics and recognizes him as the only one to offer an experiential approach to understanding those concepts; Richard Tarnas who co-founded archetypal astrology with Stan during his ten years at Esalen; And Rupert Sheldrake, who remembers how Stan introduced him to a world where he could freely explore ideas without fear of retribution.
But when the focus turns to the present moment, Stan laments society’s desire to shun the shadow and embrace the positive. Only when we learn to work out our conflicts within, will we co-exist peacefully with each other and the planet. The film ends with Stan’s rebirth after the death of his wife Christina. After her death, Stan wonders if his time has come as well. But instead, he reconnects with Brigitte – a former student - revealing their deep love and the joy they have experienced together since.
SUSAN HESS LOGEAIS
Writer / Director / Producer
Susan Hess Logeais brings her passion as a social activist to her work as a filmmaker, creating thought provoking and inspiring films. Her background as a dancer, actress and perpetual student allows her to craft stories that do more than entertain. She also blends the knowledge and understanding earned from over 30 years of spiritual exploration with her technical experience as a filmmaker, providing her with a unique perspective on building projects that draw the viewer into a heartfelt experience of the story. Susan holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Transformational Entertainment and Human Consciousness, and is working on her Masters in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness.
Brigitte Grof is a psychologist, psychotherapist and artist. In her early years she had a psychedelic experience that impacted her deeply. When her psychology studies did not answer her questions, she began studying art. In 1985 she found Stanislav Grof's books and decided to meet him, later traveling to The Esalen Institute to participate in a month-long Holotropic Breathwork seminar. She eventually participated in a 3-year training in Switzerland. Since 1989 she has facilitated breathwork in Germany, France and Czechoslovakia. From the beginning of the Grof Training she offered modules in Germany and a three year training. She currently has a private psychotherapy practice in Wiesbaden, Germany. Since 2016 she is married to Stan Grof; they live between California and Germany, and work together worldwide. In 2020, the Grof's launched Grof Legacy Training. for working with holotropic states.
Tom Schlesinger has been a story consultant on the HBO documentaries "Prom Night in Mississippi" with Morgan Freeman and "A Small Act," both premiering at Sundance and winning awards internationally. He was the story consultant on "Nowhere in Africa," which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, on "Beyond Silence," which was nominated for an Academy Award, and on the award-winning docs, "The Rugby Player," and "Blood Relative".
Consultant / Producer
Stan Grof has 60 years of experience as a pioneer in human consciousness research. In the past, he was Principal Investigator in a psychedelic research program at the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University, and Scholar-in-Residence at the Esalen Institute. Grof's publications include over 150 articles in professional journals and 25 books. Recently , he was Professor of Psychology at the CIIS, conducts professional training programs in Holotropic Breathwork and transpersonal psychology, and lectures worldwide. In 2007, he was granted the prestigious Vision 97 award and the Thomas R. Verny Award in 2010. Since 2016 he is married to Brigitte Grof; they live between California and Germany, and work together worldwide. In 2020, the Grof's launched Grof Legacy Training for working with holotropic states.
From an early age, Mitch's curiousity of the unknown universe forged his path in storytelling. With over 20 years of creative experience as a transmedia producer, experience designer, and educator, his work explores the inherent connections among consciousness, nature, culture, and the evolving human mythology. In the early ‘90s the confluence of art, information, and technology became the perfect storm for the germination of ideas that continue to inspire him today. Schultz's academic research (‘95-‘03) at UT Austin and New York University focused on communication theory, information technology, and media production. In 2009, Mitch decided to focus exclusively on his personal creative vision. As a result, his first documentary, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, premiered two years later and became an instant cult classic.
Holly Million is an artist, filmmaker, nonprofit leader, teacher, speaker, and writer whose personal passion is empowering people to change their world. Holly has over two decades’ experience in nonprofit management, has been a consultant, director of development, executive director, and board member for scores of organizations, and has raised millions of dollars throughout her career.
A HOT FLASH FILMS Production
Writer/Director SUSAN HESS LOGEAIS
Producers SUSAN HESS LOGEAIS, STANISLAV GROF, BRIGITTE GROF
Executive Producer JOHN BUCHANAN
Transmedia Producer MITCH SCHULTZ
Featuring STANISLAV GROF, SEAN KELLY, FRITJOF CAPRA, RICHARD TARNAS, RUPERT SHELDRAKE, MICHAEL MURPHY, JACK KORNFIELD, WILL KEEPIN, AMIT GOSWAMI, ERVIN LASZLO, MICHAEL HARNER, RALPH METZNER, SUSAN MOKELKE, BRIGITTE GROF, BECCA TARNAS, ROBIN CARHART-HARRIS
Special Thanks to Our Donors EVOLVE FOUNDATION, MELTON FOUNDATION, PAUL GROF, GEORGE SARLO
Four Perinatal Matrices Choreographer ROBERT GUITRON
Polaris Dance Theatre Dancers KATHERINE AMMERMAN, KAITLIN D’AMICO, CALEY HERNANDEZ, MAYA FELTEN, XENA GUITRON, PREEYA KANNON, ANDREA LARRETA, FAITH MORRISON, GERARD REGOT, WILLOW SWANSON, MELANIE VERNA, JESSICA ZOLLER
Actors ITHICA TELL, KATE VAN BROCKLIN, NICOLE ACEVEDO, AMIR KAMAL, ALISON BINFORD, ROB LAUTA, JOSH WESTRA, OSCAR LOGEAIS, SPENCER CONWAY, LEVY BALTHAZAR, MELISSA SCHMITZ, JOHN HUGILL, JULIET PROSSER, DEVIN WHITE, BRUCE LAWSON, MELISSA SCHMITZ, ALWYNN ACCUARDI, NATHAN DUNKIN, JENNIFER SKYLER, LAUREN CROWE MUELLER, TED DOUGLAS, RYAN FINDLEY, CATHERINE MELLO, CHRIS MURRAY, SPENCER CONWAY, RYAN FINDLEY, JAY LANCE, ALISON BINFORD, ANDREA MACCLOUD, PAT LACH, VARTAN FRIEDMAN, JENNY MEEKER, PAT LACH, LISSIE HUFF, LUCY PASCALL
Director of Photography (Re-Enactments) BRAD REEB
Director of Photography (Interviews) DAVID ORR
Lighting & Grip MICHAEL WEISS
Camera Operators MICHAEL WEISS, PETER RUMMEL, SUSAN HESS LOGEAIS, JOSH WESTRA, BRIGITTE GROF
Hair & Makeup ALISON BINFORD
Wardrobe JAY LANCE, MARYCHRIS MASS, GREG MCMICKLE, ROSE CITY PROPS
Production Assistant KATE VAN BROCKLIN
Casting Director SAM HULL, JENNIFER SKYLER
Editor SUSAN HESS LOGEAIS
Supervising Editor HEIDI ZIMMERMAN
Assistant Editor JOSH WESTRA
Motion Graphics SCOTT GRAVES
Animation KEN KEYES
Color Grading & Finishing TYLER CORAY
Original Score Composed & Performed by RANDALL DUNN, ULFUR HANSSON
Additional Musicians SHAZHAD ISMAILY, MONIKA KHOT, HALLA STEINUNN STEFANSDOTTIR, SIGURDUR BJARKI GUNNARSSON, JOHN MCCOWEN, GYDA VALTYSDOTTIR
Fiscal Sponsor THE FILM COLLABORATIVE