Simon Ennis

Simon Ennis Interviews Ron Mann

SIMON: You came to this subject by way of another mushroom-loving filmmaker, your friend Jim Jarmusch. When he first introduced you to this amazing, madcap subculture of fungiphiles, what exactly was it that made you decide mushroom culture was more than just something you found interesting, but was something you needed to make a film about?

RON: To spread the spores. To spread the information. Jim pointed me to the Telluride Mushroom Festival in Colorado where I met Larry Evans (the 'Indiana Jones' of mushroom hunters) and Gary Lincoff (author of the Audubon Field Guide to Mushrooms).  After four days of intensive reprogramming  I joined the cult. Drank the Kool-Aid. And now I'm handing out leaflets at airports recruiting others.

SIMON: Aside from the boletes, amanitas and psylocebes, the stars of the film are two incredible characters – Gary Lincoff, the foremost mushroom expert and lecturer in North America, and Larry Evans, a wise-cracking, Grateful Dead-loving, world-traveling  Mushroom hunter. Both of these guys are serious personalities – smart, funny, passionate and wild. Had you decided to make the film before meeting them and could you talk specifically about what made you gravitate towards them in the first place?

RON: Every cult needs charismatic leaders, right? And every film needs charismatic characters.