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Free the Mind

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Catalogue Number:  TVP022
Producer:  Video Project, Inc.
Producing Agencies:  Danish Documentary, Making Movies Oy, Danmarks Radio
Subject:  Family Studies/Home Economics, Guidance, Health and Medicine, Psychology, Science, Social Sciences, Sociology
Language:  English
Grade Level:  Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  Denmark
Copyright Year:  2013
Running Time:  79:00

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Free the Mind profiles the pioneering work of renowned psychologist Richard Davidson, who, by studying the practices of Tibetan monks and others, found that it is possible to rewire the brain through meditation and mental training exercises.

Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2006, Dr. Davidson has dedicated himself to applying this hopeful discovery to improve the lives of people throughout the world. He founded the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin to study whether and how contemplative traditions change our brains and can help people overcome mental trauma and live happier lives.

Filmed at the Center, Free the Mind follows three test subjects on an emotionally-charged journey through life-changing experiments overseen by Dr. Davidson that delve into the deepest recesses of the human mind.

Steve and Rich are American veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and are tormented by painful wartime memories. Will is a five-year-old suffering from ADHD and severe anxiety whose parents are eager to find treatment options other than traditional medications. Can Dr. Davidson free these three from their troubled existences and help them lead happier lives?

The film explores the intersection between modern neuroscience and ancient contemplative practices, as well as deeper questions about the nature of consciousness and how it manifests in the brain and body. Animated segments vividly depict the effects on the brain of the techniques being employed, helping viewers understand the complex ideas involved.

Official Selection, IDFA
Official Selection, Hot Docs
Official Selection, Planete Doc Film Festival
Official Selection, CPH:DOX
Official Selection, Vancouver International Film Festival
Official Selection, Milwaukee Film Festival

"Highly recommended. Presents new research and provides important information on the effects of meditation, intensive breathing exercises, and yoga on the pre-frontal cortex region of the brain which controls emotion and intention. It also piques interest in scientific research on meditative practices and the brain." –Educational Media Reviews Online

"Editor's Choice. Highly Recommended. Will draw anyone that watches it to reflect on the power mindful meditation could have to change ones thoughts, feelings and behavior. It accomplishes this by illustrating the foundation of the research done by psychologist Richard Davidson."– Science Books and Films (AAAS)

"Recommended. In offering a blend of ages-old contemplative practices with the considerations of modern neuroscience, Davidson challenged the traditional approaches to medical care and psychology, with remarkable results. Free the Mind does an admirable job of explaining complex neuroscience theories...." – Video Librarian

“Compelling… filled with wonder and questions about humanity and yourself. The parallel storylines coax you into questioning not only the hidden potential of humanity, but the possible applications in your life as well.” – Toronto Star

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