‘Ibogaine Rite of Passage’, directed and produced by Ben De Loenen
Title: Ibogaine – Rite of PassageGenre
Documentary Screentime: 50 minutes
‘Ibogaine – Rite of Passage’ is a documentary about the use of the controversial substance ‘Ibogaine’ for the treatment of addiction.
Ibogaine is a substance that is derived from an African plant, which is used during initiations of the Bwiti culture in Gabon. In the sixties the anti-addictive properties were discovered by Howard Lotsof, who was an American heroin addict at that time. Shortly after his discovery, Ibogaine became illegal in the US. Ibogaine is surrounded by controversy and the pharmaceutical companies show no interest in this substance. Is it because of economical reasons or its hallucinogenic effects?
Cy (34) has been using a mixture of heroine and amphetamine for about 11 years, but his three children and his ambitions are more valuable to him. Kicking his addiction is a tough job for him. It reveals all his suppressed emotions.
Massavou (22) lives in the village Mitoné in Gabon. For her the traditional African initiation is part of a healing process. She suffered from an illness for more than a year and she hopes that eating the holy plant will be the starting point of a new phase in her life.
This revealing documentary shows the different aspects of this special substance by means of personal experiences and explanations of ex-addicts, treatment providers and ‘experts’.
About Ben De Loenen (11-04-1980)
I have always been very interested in music. I went to the Jozef Pauly Music Academy in Antwerp, Belgium. I studied several instruments such as flute, guitar and didgeridoo and started making digital music about 8 years ago.
After highschool I studied Audio Visual Technique in Narafi in Brussels, Belgium. This theoretical course provided me with a technical basis. After this I went to the Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands to study Audio Visual Media, where I graduated with honors in the masters.
As my interests are very broad, I am active in different aspects of filmmaking; editing, directing, production and music. In 2003 I raised the filmproduction company LunArt Productions, which focuses on the realization of social documentaries. The project ‘Ibogaine Rite of Passage’ was distributed and played on festivals around the world, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Next to setting up my own documentary projects, I work as a freelance editor.
Director’s statement ‘IBOGAINE-Rite of Passage’
Two years ago I started with this project. The more I got into it, the more I felt a social obligation to make Ibogaine more known. I believe that film can be a very powerfull tool to increase global awareness and knowledge about relatively unknown social problems. I hope that my film will contribute in one way or another to the well-being of addicts and their relatives and the way they are treated by society, even if it’s just in the form of stimulating people to take a closer look at this problem without having prejudges. So my intentions were not to make a promotion film for Ibogaine.
There are too many people to thank for their support in the realization of this project to list them all here, although I would like to express my deepest respect to Howard Lotsof for the work he did for Ibogaine and his dedication to my project.