Taking a closer look at fungi

Thursday, March 12, 2020 4:36 PM
“Fantastic Fungi” will be screened at Animas City Theatre.

There’s a whole interconnected world beneath our feet that we may not even notice, yet its importance to all organisms – and the planet – cannot be understated.

Animas City Theatre is screening the documentary “Fantastic Fungi,” starting today.

“Fantastic Fungi,” directed by Louie Schwartzberg, explores the solutions fungi can offer us in the realms of medicine, therapy and environmental issues.

The film includes interviews with scientists and mycologists, including Paul Stamets, authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others.

Bone was involved in the film early on, she said, adding that her book, “Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms,” was a source Schwartzberg when he was working on the project.

“It was from that book that he started to reach out to me for more advice, just like consultations. So from the very beginning of this project, he was asking me: ‘How do you think we should handle the science? How should we handle the mushroom-hunting community?’” Bone said. “‘Mycophilia’ covers like the whole scene, and so I would have these long, wonderful conversations with him about what might be important to cover, and things like that.”

Bone said there’s still a lot we can learn about fungi. We’re in the process of a learning curve when it comes to fungi, which are mostly microscopic – we see mushrooms, but the fungus, the vegetative part of the organism, we don’t really see that usually because it’s mostly microscopic, she said. It wasn’t until we had the tools – high-powered microscopes and DNA analysis – to observe them, so that we could better understand how they work.

“We’re in this era of discovery in part because we’ve got the tools to go there. It’s like now we have the ships that can get across the ocean and we can discover a new continent,” Bone said. “It’s still happening – as our tools get better and better, our ability to analyze things like bacteria and viruses is also becoming – that’s what’s going on here. New worlds are opening up because now we can see them, we can understand them better.”

“Fantastic Fungi” is worth a watch because through an understanding and appreciation of fungi, one can understand in a deeper way the ecological aspect of nature, the connectedness of different organisms, Bone said.

“All things are connected. And this is really important because going forward into the future, you can’t forget that your actions, yours, mine, everyone’s actions affect the well-being of other creatures, whose well-being we actually depend on,” she said. “It’s sort of that six degrees of separation notion that we’re actually very close to each other – all organisms – animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, everything is connected, and going forward, the more aware we are of those connections, hopefully, the more responsible we’ll be in the decisions we make about ourselves and our planet.”

For showtimes and more information, visit

Fantastic Fungi

(Playing at Animas City Theatre)

Genre: Documentary

Directed by: Louie Schwartzberg

Written by: Mark Monroe

Runtime: 1 hr. 14 min.

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer: 100%