Fresh off the warm reception given his debut feature, Lovely, Still, Omaha’s Film Dude, Nik Fackler, says his next two film projects will be documentaries.
Following the path of cinema adventurer Werner Herzog, Fackler’s tramping off to shoot one film in Nepal and the other in Gabon, Africa. He is drawn to each exotic locale by his obsession with indigenous cultures.
Fackler, Lovely producer Dana Altman and two other crew left August 11 for Gabon in west central Africa. They plan living weeks with the shamanistic Mitsogo, whose practice of Bwiti involves ingesting the hallucinogenic iboga root. The mind-altering initiation ritual is about healing.
“Part of it is you’ve got to prove yourself to the tribe,” says Fackler. “They don’t just give it to anybody, especially Westerners.”
The extreme project is based in a fascination with and use of ancient, underground medicines and practices.
“I have a great interest in dreams and a great interest in psychedelic experience. I’ve had a lot of healing I’ve gone through using silicide mushrooms,” says Fackler.
A heroin addict friend is along for this exploration.
A quest for spiritual enlightenment brought Fackler and Lovely DP Sean Kirby to Nepal in May to film the end of a six-year fasting and meditative regimen by Dharma Sangha. The filmmakers followed Boy Buddha’s exodus, with tens of thousands of followers on hand, and planning to return in the fall.
Fackler is tackling the unlikely projects while awaiting financing for his next two narrative features: an untitled puppet film with illustrator Tony Millionaire; and a phantasmagorical mythology pic called We the Living.
The docs square nicely with Fackler’s eclectic interests in alternative therapies and philosophies.
“I’m always searching. There’s so many beautiful cultures out there. I have to explore and learn as much as I possibly can. I have to go out there to discover them, document them, before they disappear into the weird one-world culture we’re heading towards.”
Mere days before leaving for Africa he still wasn’t sure the Bwiti cultists were on board, but put his faith in miracles.
“I suppose I’m in the mindset of looking at everything in a magical way rather than an intellectual way. That’s sort of where I need to be to make a film like this.”
Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at leoadambiga.wordpress.com