Hofmann’s Potion

Thursday February 19, 2004 – 7:30 pm
Canada 2002. Director: Connie Littlefield

Long before Timothy Leary urged a generation to “tune in, turn on and drop out,” D-lysergic acid diethylamide (or LSD) was being used by researchers to understand the human mind. Discovered in 1943 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, LSD was hailed as a powerful tool to treat alcoholism and drug addiction and to provide a window into schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Much of that pioneering research was done by the team of Humphry Osmond, Abram Hoffer and Duncan Blewett, all working in Saskatchewan. While researchers were establishing the medical benefits of LSD, others — like author Aldous Huxley — promoted the drug as a powerful tool for mental exploration and self-understanding. At Harvard, Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Ram Dass (then known as Richard Alpert) became popular heroes after the university cancelled their research project into psychedelics. Featuring interviews with many LSD pioneers, documentary filmmaker Connie Littlefield delves into the little-known early history of the world’s most notorious psychedelic concoction. Colour, Beta SP. 56 mins.

The program will include a post-screening discussion with:
Connie Littlefield. Director and writer of Hoffman’s Potion, Connie Littlefield completed a previous NFB documentary, All The Right Stuff, in 1999. Now located in Halifax, she is on the Board of Directors for a media arts centre called The Centre for Art Tapes and is currently filming a documentary about Ann & Sasha Shulgin, whom Timothy Leary called “the two most important scientists of the twentieth century.”

Evening moderated by:
Dr. Harry Karlinsky Director of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

Co-sponsored by the National Film Board of Canada