What begins as a science film emerges far beyond the explicable. “Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness” on INDEPENDENT LENS, April 25 at 10 pm

Posted on:

< < Back to




The Award-Winning Documentary Investigates the Mysteries of Consciousness Through a 
Scientific and Spiritual Lens


Filmmakers Frauke Sandig and Eric Black explore six
radically different perspectives on consciousness in their documentary “AWARE: Glimpses of
Consciousness.” Through expert perspectives spanning high-tech brain research, Eastern
Meditation, the use of psychedelic substances, and the consciousness of plants, Sandig and
Black evoke existential mysteries at the core of the human experience, ultimately encouraging 
viewers to review their long-held beliefs and assumptions, and initiate their own journey into

person with head in MRI machine, red lasers on faceLauded by the Los Angeles Times as “mindful” and “consciousness-elevating food for thought,”
and garnering a 100 percent “Certified Fresh” score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, “AWARE:
Glimpses of Consciousness” makes its television debut on PBS’s INDEPENDENT LENS on April
 25, 2022, at 10:00 p.m. ET.  The film will also be available to stream on the PBS Video app.

The film features six expert researchers studying the existence of consciousness and how to
achieve it from radically different perspectives. Sandig and Black speak with: Christof Koch, 
renowned neuroscientist and head of the Allen Institute for Brain Science; Matthieu Ricard, a
former molecular biologist and current Tibetan-Buddhist monk; Roland Griffiths, neuroscience 
professor and director of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns 
Hopkins University; Philosophy Professor Richard Boothby; Monica Gagliano, scientist,
 professor and researcher; and Mayan healer Josefa Kirvin Kulix.

buddist monk smiling with three lit cnadles behind himEach expert brings distinctly different but relevant findings to the film and provides compelling,
 fascinating new insights on inner awareness. For instance, Koch has come to openly question 
whether material science can find the origins of consciousness and has begun to ask if 
consciousness could be in all things—the fundamental essence of the universe. Ricard
 maintains we cannot approach consciousness from the outside, but only from the inside,
through meditation. Griffiths is systematically investigating prohibited psychoactive substances
used by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years to heighten awareness and cure illness.
 Gagliano is making the empirical case in her lab that plants hear, see, communicate, learn,
remember, and feel pain. Along with a look into each researcher’s work, Sandig and Black
weave in contemplative, sprawling visuals reminiscent of cinematographic meditation throughout
the film.

close up of mans face smiling looking at science experiment
“AWARE: Glimpses of Consciousness” has been deep in the festival circuit over the last year,
winning the Feature Competition Jury Prize at the 2021 Illuminate Film Festival, the Online
Audience Award for Poland’s Millennium Docs Against Gravity festival, and the Create the Future
Award at the 2021 Maui Film Festival Audience Awards. In addition, the film was shortlisted for
the German Film Awards, the country’s top prize in film. The fourth collaboration between
 Sandig and Black, the documentary is the second film in their trilogy, “Heart of Sky, Heart of

Visit the “AWARE: Glimpses of Consciousness” page on INDEPENDENT LENS for more 
information about the film.