recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
I’m Louie Schwartzberg, director of Fantastic Fungi, featuring mycologist Paul Stamets. AMA!

I’ve been shooting time lapse photography of nature around the world for over 4 decades. I film things that are too slow, too fast, too small and too vast for the human eye to detect. Fantastic Fungi is my current consciousness-shifting project which digs deep into the potential benefits of honoring the mycelium network. Ask me anything!

Check out this trailer for the film:

Get lost in The Mush Room:

Moving Art Season 3 for you here:

Moving Art Season 2, in case you missed it:


October 8th 2019
interview date

What are your thoughts on the film The Creeping Garden (2014)?

Slime molds are weird and I'm convinced they'll take over.


I haven't seen The creeping garden. I'll be sure to check it out,

As for slime molds, they look weird but they are intelligent, without a brain or central nervous system and only one cell thick. Experiments have shown that slime molds can design a more efficient subway system by navigating a maze that mirrored the subway station in Tokyo. I guess that's kind of weird but also really cool. Nature never wastes a single molecule and if they are more efficient than humans, then maybe they will take over the earth.


Are mushrooms affected by climate change? If so how?


Great question! Mushrooms are affected by climate change due to increased temperatures drying out the moist soil they inhabit and the increase of forest fires and their intensity scorches the top soil where most of the mycelium live. After the Big Sur fire the locals have reported no mushrooms this season :(


Been a big fan for a while! I’ve watched all three seasons of moving art and have told numerous people about it, love your work! When did you get started in cinematography? Do you have any tips? I have been in photography for a little bit now and would like to take a stab at making short 3 minuteish videos that are inspired by moving art. Im taking a trip in a couple weekends to New Hampshire for fall foliage and this will be my first attempt. Do you have any advice on video limitations as well? My camera only shoots up to 60fps unfortunately.


I started after graduating film school and pioneered timelapse because shooting one frame ever ten minutes was less expensive than shooting 24 frames per second. It also filled my sense of wonder to see things through the portal of altered time and scale.

Tips - Follow your passion and film what touches your soul, it's not about camera gear it's more about chasing the light and capturing the magic moments that can unfold in mysterious ways ( if you are patient)


How's life on the Discovery?


It's a journey through time and scale that broadens your horizons, expands your perception and opens your heart to the rhythms and patterns of the universe that touch the deepest part of your soul.


Is Paul currently wearing his mushroom hat?


He's always wearing his mushroom hat when he wants to connect to the mycelial network.


Ever tried magic mushrooms?


I have experienced sacred medicines including those in the fungal kingdom. It was really important for us to include the John Hopkins Psilocybin trials and studies in Fantastic Fungi to show how it can help people with depression and anxiety.


Do you ever refer to fellow mycologists as "my-colleague-sts"?


Ha! I will now. I go refer to fellow mycologist as Fungis and Fungals.


What is your favorite mushroom to eat? What is your favorite mushroom to photograph?


Favorite edible mushroom lions mane cooked with sage and rosemary. Favorite mushroom to photograph is psilocybin cubensis


Where would one start to learn about mushrooms? Ever since I heard Mr. Stamets talk I wanted to learn more but there is just so much information, its easy to get lost for someone new


Paul's book mycelium running is a great start. We also have a Fantastic Fungi Book just released that is a wonderful overview of everything that has to do with mushrooms

I'd also seek out if your city/town has a local mycology society.


Do you have a favorite Basidiomycete? If so, which one?



Of all the higher kingdom fungi I love the bridal veil ( Phallus indusiatus). It's the most spectacular in timelapse.


Do you have much to say about eating mushrooms raw vs cooked? As far as medicinal benefits go, is one way better than the other?


Cooking mushrooms destroys any toxins or carcinogens and many nutrients in mushrooms are accessible after they have been cooked including powerful antioxidants.


In Moving Art Season 1 on Netflix, subtitles would randomly appear. Things like "[Birds Chirping]" would just show up on the screen seemingly without any rhyme or reason - and I didn't have subtitles turned on. Two questions:

1) What was that about?

2) What was your favorite random subtitle?


We are required by netflix to include closed captioning for people with hearing loss, I have no idea how it could have appeared with CC turned off. Maybe you have a ghost in the machine.

Given that there is no narration in the series, just music, my favorite subtitle is "music swells"


You fav tek !?


Capturing in hi-resolution what the naked eye can't see, making the invisible, visible.


Do you have a timelapse of claviceps purpurea growing? In a 5gal carboy with hydroflourochlorocarbon feeder tubes? Are you willing to risk losing fingers and hands to grow rare fungi?


claviceps purpurea

I don't have a timelapse of it and I'm not willing to lose my fingers or hands growing rare fungi. Safety first.


What is your vision for your art? Do you do it just because, or are there reasons.


I use the art of cinematography and filmmaking to channel the beauty and wisdom of nature's intelligence. I feel that artists have a responsibility to make the world a better place.


Hello! Near where I live, Morel Mushrooms are very popular to pick and sell for a decent price around parts of the year.

What about them makes it so much harder to farm or grow them yourself? I understand the basics of mycology and have grown a few species myself but have never tried or looked into why Morels are often hunted for.



They saprophytic fungi and very hard to grow. I know they thrive after burns and you can increase your chances with wood chips and recreating "burns". I've never tried to grow them but best of luck if you do!


Paul's appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast was one of the most entertaining and informative podcasts I have ever heard. My question is how did Paul convince you to do this project?


I met Paul 13 years ago at a Bioneers conference. I then showed him some of my time-lapse mushrooms on my laptop after that we bonded and it was a beginning of a adventure filled bro-mance


Hi, Louie.

1.How long was the process of shooting and editing?

  1. How was it like working with Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson?


The film from start to finish took 13 years

Working with Brie Larson was fantastic, I wanted her voice to symbolize mother nature and as the first female superhero in Captain Marvel it also sent the message of don't mess with mother nature.


Are we going to have fantastic beast 3 ?

And I am a great fan of your work


Wrong movie, but I'll happily make a fantastic fungi 3 :)


Is it true that the typical grocery store button mushrooms are unsafe to eat raw?


It's safer to cook them in order to remove any toxicity or contaminants.


Would it be possible to film that fungus at work which they made self-healing by impregnating concrete with spores?


It would take a long time for the fungi to decompose concrete, but if you have the time anything is possible.


Is their a mushroom you or Paul would consider the most intelligent?


I cannot speak for Paul, yet I guess each mushroom has it's own unique intelligence. I can't pick a favorite/smartest they are all fantastic.

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