About the Film

MDMA The Movie is the first comprehensive feature length documentary telling the fascinating story of MDMA, the drug also known as Ecstasy or Molly.

Directed by DanceSafe founder, Emanuel Sferios, and award-winning filmmaker, Johnny O’Hara, MDMA The Movie examines all aspects of this unique molecule, from its history as a therapeutic medicine, to its emergence as the world’s favorite party drug, to its soon-to-be approval by the FDA as a treatment for PTSD.

Addressing the myths and misinformation surrounding MDMA, the film explores the dismal failure of the war on drugs by demonstrating how prohibition creates unregulated, criminal drug markets and impedes crucial harm reduction services, creating the very problems it claims to solve.

MDMA The Movie provides a vision for a more rational drug policy that recognizes the reality and permanence of recreational drug use in society. Rejecting shame and stigma, it offers practical, public health-based  alternatives to scare tactics and other “zero-tolerance” approaches that only exacerbate drug-related harms.

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Meet the Directors

Emanuel Sferios is an activist, educator, public speaker and harm reduction advocate. Founding DanceSafe in 1998, Emanuel was an early pioneer of MDMA harm reduction. DanceSafe has volunteer chapters in over two dozen cities across the United States and provides non-judgmental, peer-based drug education and drug checking (a.k.a., “pill testing”) services in the electronic dance music community. Emanuel also started the first public laboratory pill analysis program in 1999 which allowed ecstasy users for the first time to anonymously send tablets to a DEA-licensed laboratory for chromatography analysis.  Originally publishing the results on the DanceSafe website, the program still exists today and is hosted at Ecstasydata.org.

Today Emanuel speaks at colleges and universities about MDMA, harm reduction and drug policy. He lives in Grass Valley, California with his wife and two step children.

Johnny O’Hara is an award-winning documentary filmmaker with an extensive list of theatrical credits. His first feature documentary Fuel, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and went on to be one of only fifteen films on the Oscar short-list for Best Documentary. Fuel was also nominated by the Writer’s Guild of America for best documentary screenplay.

Johnny was also the writer and director of Bhutto. Bhutto was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2010 and was also an official selection of the Hot Docs Film Festival, The Berlin International Film Festival, The Rome International Film Festival, The Vancouver International Film Festival, The Stockholm International Film Festival and The Jakarta International Film Festival.

In addition to winning the George Foster Peabody award and being nominated for an Emmy, Bhutto was the winner of a Special Jury Prize for Outstanding U.S. Historical Documentary at the Sonoma International Film Festival, winner of Best Documentary at The Rhode Island International Film Festival, winner of the ABCNews VideoSource Award from The International Documentary Association and winner of the EPIC Award by The White House Project. After a 47 city US theatrical run and a successful release in both Pakistan and the UK, Bhutto had its national television premiere on PBS Independent Lens.

Johnny was also the writer of The Big Fix, which premiered as an official selection of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. His most recent film, Good Fortune, had its international premiere at the 2016 Zurich Film Festival and its American premiere at the 2016 Austin Film Festival. It was awarded Best of the Fest and Best Documentary Film at the 2017 Sedona Film Festival, and had an 8 city theatrical release by Lionsgate. Johnny’s next film, Kiss The Ground, narrated by Woody Harrelson and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, will be released in 2017.

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