The term “magic mushroom” is often associated with psychedelics, but many scientists and mycologists posit that mushrooms might hold the key to some of humanity's most pressing concerns including medical and environmental challenges. That is the premise of the film “Fantastic Fungi” – a new documentary about mushrooms and more – being shown at Zoetropolis at the end of the month.

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William Padilla-Brown outside his lab. Padilla-Brown grows cordyceps inside, but the area behind the lab is home to various species of edible mushrooms. 

The film includes mycologists Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and an appearance by William Padilla-Brown of Elizabethtown. Padilla-Brown is a commercial mushroom grower and the first person in the United States to produce large-scale commercial batches of cordyceps – a type of fungus used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Read more about Padilla-Brown, cordyceps and how mushrooms are like the internet in this interview.

“The movie is literally moving art,” says Padilla-Brown of “Fantastic Fungi.” “The visuals are stunning. It brings magic back to the movies. It’s very humbling to be a part of this film and this movement with so many incredible individuals.”

 “Fantastic Fungi” is directed by Louis Schwartzberg – a filmmaker known as a pioneer in time-lapse cinematography. Schwartzberg’s directorial credits include “Mysteries of the Unseen World” and “DisneyNature: Wings of Life.” Schwartzberg also has credits on Hollywood blockbusters such as “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Independence Day” and many others including the acclaimed 1982 experimental film “Koyaanisqatsi.”

Zoetropolis will host five screenings of “Fantastic Fungi” taking place on Dec. 27 at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. and on Dec. 28. at noon, 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. The movie has a run time of 81 minutes.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Check out this time-lapse video of an oyster mushroom's growth over the course of 24-hours.