Who Was Doug Henning?
For many audiences today, the art of magic is a pop culture establishment. However, by the early 1970s magic was relegated to the musty world of birthday parties and stagnant top hat and tails. Enter Doug Henning…
Travelling to the United States in 1971 with a $5,000 Canadian arts grant, Doug Henning had a simple dream of bringing magic back to its rightful place. With the successful Broadway musical “The Magic Show,” a hippie sensibility, never ending enthusiasm, and colorful attire, he would do just that.
NBC soon offered him yearly television specials. The first of which, 1975’s “World of Magic,” had an unprecedented viewership of fifty-million people tuning in live to see Doug escape from Houdini’s feared “Water Torture Cell.”
By 1987, with two more Broadway shows, and massive worldwide acclaim under his belt, Doug Henning would do the unimaginable. His devotion to the calming practice of Transcendental Meditation had grown to the point where the inherent magic and wonder in everyday life held his interest profoundly more than stage magic ever could. After much soul searching, Doug would leave behind the art form that had gripped him since childhood.
Until his untimely death in 2000, Doug’s primary goal was to fund and build the TM based theme-park “Veda Land.” Though still unrealized, it speaks volumes to the mind of a genius who saw the world not as we see it, but as a place where magic is right in front of us. We just have to open our eyes and believe…
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Over the years, Neil has been involved in various aspects of film production, writing, and art. It was while attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn he majored in Film, and after graduating he had the pleasure of working for The Jim Henson Company for several years as a puppeteer.
After moving to Los Angeles in 2008, Neil wrote for various entertainment magazines and websites such as Famous Monsters of Filmland, Starburst, MI6 Confidential, Wild About Harry, Den of Geek, and The Muppet Mindset.
Some of his interview subjects have included director Brian Henson (The Jim Henson Company) and famed movie poster artist Drew Struzan (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter).
However, it is his work on and the creation of the popular website The Doug Henning Project that he is most proud of. Started in May 2017, the
website has quickly become the go-to resource for all things Doug Henning.
In fact, it has been this outpouring of appreciation and love from Doug’s fans that has convinced Neil the time is now right for a comprehensive documentary on Doug’s life and art.
As a lover of magic history, Neil intends to bring new life and awareness to the legacy of Doug Henning. It’s a legacy that’s surprisingly unexplored and one that is waiting to be unlocked for the masses once again!
Michelle has had the honor of studying under directors John Badham (Saturday Night Fever) and Mark Rydell (On Golden Pond) as a Marion Knott Scholar. She studied directing at the American Film Institute where she directed her thesis film But, Seriously Folks.
Having also graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in film production, Michelle has directed dozens of short films and
documentaries that have circulated film festivals, winning awards and acclaim. Additionally, she has produced four feature films. Michelle was the recipient of Chapman University’s Location Filmmaking grant, Eastman Kodak Women in Film scholarship, and Panavision’s Filmmaker’s Grant.
Born in Japan and raised in Hawaii, Michelle moved throughout her childhood. Her diverse background draws her to unique projects. In addition to writing and directing her own films, Michelle teaches film and produces projects she passionately believes in.