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ONI's Creation Story


We are deeply inspired to expand upon our experience creating ONI, since this film was birthed in a way that challenges traditional filmmaking paths and proposes a new language of weaving documentaries.

ONI was produced over a five year period. During this time, we went through a profound transformation in the way we embody the art of telling stories. The architecture of our crew is non-hierarchical allowing diverse forms role distribution to focus on each of our individual gifts as artists. This method allowed us to honor the stories of those being filmed as well as the crew to access a space of deep healing and witnessessing, using the cinema as a curative tool.

We submerged ourselves into the jungles of Peru for three months learning from different plant technologies and indigenous medicine people in order to receive the messages of this film. This resulted in making lifelong relationships with all involved in the creative process. It is fundamental for us to see indigenous people as human beings, not something to be studied, but to conserve the ancestral knowledge they keep through a direct experience. This resulted in our team going through a personal healing journey and integrating little by little the teachings of this sacred plant alchemy. We learned how to ask permission to film from the native people and plants themselves, expanding our understanding of consent.

For us is important to see indigenous people as human beings, not as something to be studied. This allows the conservation of their wisdom through a direct experience. This resulted in our team going through a personal healing journey and integrating little by little the knowledge of this sacred plant alchemy. We learned how to ask permission to film from the native people and plants themselves, expanding our understanding of consent in a humble way.

Often times, we observe Ayahuasca motivates an ecocentric view of the world, expanding the remembrance of our integral connection as nature. This film explores transpersonal states of consciousness expanding our notion of purpose and place on this planet. We utilize a visceral cinematic language allowing a heartfelt experience. The intention for this film is to be felt and understood on a metaphysical level, simulating a ceremonial space, allowing the integration of knowledge through symbolic imagery. The whole process has come through an appreciation of our dreamwork, utilizing archetypal stories, studying how psycho magic and surrealism are conceived in our contemporary minds, and what performance art can bring forth into this language.

The film was produced using regenerative techniques in every way we found possible. We aspire to create films that are carbon free, however we did still use gas and airplanes, so we acknowledge the sustainability work ahead and are currently looking for alternatives. During the process we used permaculture principles such as leave no trace, in terms of trash. However we did leave a trace in terms of prayers and songs left at the locations as a way to express our gratitude. We used rechargeable batteries, reusable water bottles, bottle bricks for trash, carpooling, mostly natural light and we made our own homemade food for shootings. The props used were made artisanally, usually from reused objects, found items and/ or bought from local artisans the majority of the time. Republic of Light created a home on a school bus during the making of this film using solar power to charge our equipment and move from location to location. This vehicle used gasoline and we strive to move towards electric vehicles for future projects.

In terms of financial sustainability we practiced trading, for example while living in Peru we created video and photography media for the Ayahuasca center in exchange for our stay. This technique was used throughout the process of creating the film, paying it forward as well. Giving without the expectation of receiving. Oni was completely self funded by Republic of Light’s projects and close community. We created many videos along the way for artists, healers, permaculturists, musicians and activists who aligned with the message we support. When we did receive financial compensation for our work we generally put 50% into the film and Republic of Light and shared the rest between a 3-5 person team.

This film shaped us into the artists that we are today. We have deeply healed through this work and carved our path as filmmakers expanding the idea of how stories can be created and shared in harmony with our planet. The trust, joy, growth and artistic expression is what fuels us and we humbly step forward to the sound of our own drum, the whispers of the forest and laughter of the spirits.